Young children are naturally curious about everything around them. They want to know how and why things work. Then, around middle school age, many of them lose that natural attraction to science and engineering.
A team of university and public school educators in Michigan say they know what’s wrong with middle school science education. And, with a $5 million, three-year grant from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation in Midland, they intend to develop and test some solutions.
“In Michigan and most of the nation’s schools, STEM instruction consists of a series of seemingly unrelated courses that require students to memorize large numbers of facts but fail to engage them in the practice of using science as a tool to address real-world problems,” said Jacqueline Huntoon, a geology professor, associate provost and dean of the graduate school at Michigan Technological University.