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Developing an Interest in Science & Math
When teaching a science or technology course, it is very important to develop within the students a general interest in science and math. A common problem in education is that students have no interest in a subject because they cannot understand why they need to know the information. No connection between the subject and their personal life has been made. In order for students to gain an interest and appreciation in science and math they need to be aware of how these subject areas affect their every day lives.
One way for teachers to make the connection is to link the subject to real-life situations. Hold class discussions about current events in science or simply have students think about scientific concepts within the context of their lives.. For example, when learning about radiation, ask the students to compile a list of all the things that they come in contact with that produce or use radiation. They will likely find on their list items like televisions, computer monitors, medical and dental radiographs, and even the earth. With so much radiation all around them and knowing that there are health affects involved with radiation, the students should be asked if they would like to learn more about the subject.
Another way to get students thinking about science is to ask them how common things work. Ask to explain how a smoke detector works or a stereo speaker or light bulb. If they don't know, ask they to research the subject and find out. When students start to become interested in a subject then will become actively involved in the learning process. Studies have found that students engaged in real world problem-solving experiences were more successful in transferring what they had learned to another set of real world problems (Baker, 1998). Everyday examples provide the students with a break from the fast pace of demanding content, and allow them to visualize or manipulate the concepts in a different way, which, in turn, promotes more effective learning (Glazer, 1998).
Teachers should also use items for teaching and experimenting that are known to the students. By using familiar materials students will be able to see how everyday materials can be used in science and math. Colburn (2000) found that the more familiar the activity, materials, and context of the investigation, the easier it is for students to learn through inquiry. When teachers present these everyday examples, students will be encouraged to make connections between the real world and what they are learning in class.