In “Science Workshop: Building a Lifelong Love of a “Boring” Subject” (Core Knowledge Blog, August 30, 2009), Robert Pondiscio quotes a newspaper article:
The Future of Science: ‘Science Workshop’ Approach Lets Students Learn What They Want
The New York Times By Motoko Rich August 30, 2009
JONESBORO, Ga. — For years Lorrie McNeill loved teaching chemistry. She taught her students the periodic table of elements, the ubiquitous classroom staple that many Americans regard as a scientific rite of passage.
But last fall, for the first time in 15 years, Ms. McNeill, 42, removed the periodic table from her classroom. Gone, too, were assigned lab partners–and even the laboratory tables themselves, bunsen burners and all. Instead she turned over all the decisions about what science to learn to the students in her seventh- and eighth-grade science classes at Jonesboro Middle School in this south Atlanta suburb.
Among their choices: building model volcanoes, setting off smoke bombs, making sundials from modeling clay and popsicle sticks, and creating “geysers” by dropping Mentos candies into 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke.
The approach Ms. McNeill uses, in which students choose their own science projects, discuss them individually with their teacher and one another, and keep detailed journals about their observations, is part of a movement to revolutionize the way science is taught in America’s schools. While there is no clear consensus among science teachers, variations on the approach, known as science workshop, are catching on.
John Dewey rears his corrupting head and raises his cognition-destroying hand. Again.