Research has shown that approximately 13% of pupils in an average classroom are auditory learners, who learn best by listening to others (typically the teacher). The dominant teaching method of most schools is likely not meeting the learning needs of 87% of our students. Our brains do their best work when we are learning in by doing, not by passively listening.
Scientists, engineers, mathematicians and others STEM professionals spend a great portion of their day applying skills and concepts that fall outside the boundaries of their discipline. The National Research Center found that reading and writing comprise over half of the work of scientists and engineers (NRC 2011). Speaking, listening, reading, writing, computing, sketching, collaborating with others, etc., make up the typical day for most professionals, where we use these competencies on an as-needed basis throughout the day. It is natural for us to engage in STEM daily if we participate in any brand of regular problem-solving.
By completing the chart below, we are reminded of this important academic reality.
By filling in the appropriate boxes of this chart with students, parents and educators, hopefully, we can reduce the number of times we hear, “Why do I need to know this?” and “When will I ever use this?” It is through these “aha” moments that students not only appreciate STEM, but they also understand the value of a truly “interconnected” curriculum that provides a multidimensional backdrop for understanding their transdisciplinary world.
The connections their young brains make reach across numerous academic borderlines fostering what we first refer to as knowledge, and subsequently as creative thinking.