The Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “I hear and I forget. I see and I believe. I do and I understand.” Economists and trend analysts predict that as white-collar and other jobs are either replaced by technologies or moved overseas, those who are able to synthesize, design and problem solve will emerge as leaders in the 21st century. Experiential learning programs were created to help students learn by doing, and the article below features an example of this teaching method at a new high school in Cincinnati. The value of experiential learning is that it incorporates not only the cognitive, but the emotional and physical. By using experiential learning, people get immediate feedback on their assignments and activities.
The new Hughes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) High School of Cincinnati Public Schools aims to earn a rating of Excellent from the state of Ohio this school year through their focus on project-based lessons. Led by Hughes science teacher, Ronda Cargill, she aims that “[students] know that learning is not in a textbook – which people learn so they can be useful in society.” Although the curriculum is math and science heavy, Cargile says students pursuing careers outside these disciplines will also benefit. “Engineering lessons can teach students – even those who have no plans to become an engineer – how to work in a team and how to think pragmatically about abstract issues. The scientific method of inquiry, proposing a hypothesis and testing it, can also make students smarter consumers and lead to better political decisions,” said Cargile.
LifeBound’s Critical and Creative Thinking program fosters learning in context by helping teenagers, whose brains are learning to process abstract concepts, explore ideas and subject matter through different lenses: the lens of medicine, the lens of nature, and other relevant perspectives.
How can we help students develop broader skills on how to approach new subjects, to question and to integrate more than one perspective?
How can we create school climates that are conducive to critical and creative thinking?
What kinds of cross-disciplinary, technology-rich projects can enhance these objectives?
by Ben Fischer
Four freshmen in science class at the new Hughes STEM High School debated last week how to design a small wooden car so it would win a race. The quartet didn’t know each other six weeks ago, and only one said he wants a STEM career (in science, technology, engineering or math). But they deftly used their science class vocabulary words such as velocity and acceleration and built off each other’s explanations to add more detail.
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