Parents and teachers don't always agree on their kids' education, but one thing is clear: curiosity is the most valuable trait for kids' success in the science classroom and a hands-on approach is the most valuable trait for science teachers' success. That's the findings of a pulse survey of FMC scientists and students, parents, and teachers in the Philadelphia School District conducted by the FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC).
According to the survey, the majority of FMC scientists believe that curiosity (59.6 percent) and creativity (50 percent) are the most important traits for success in their field. In a similar vein, the majority of scientists (84.6 percent), teachers (79 percent), and parents (65.5 percent), said that curiosity is the most important trait for a science student.
Students had a different view, and the majority said that being smart (56.1 percent) led to success in the science classroom. About half of students (47.6 percent) also believed that successful scientists need to be smart.
"Isaac Newton discovered gravity after wondering why apples fell from tree branches. Our pulse survey found that we need to encourage students to ask similar questions about the world around them and discover new possibilities," said Barbara Del Duke, FMC's senior public affairs manager.
To engage students in science and help them to understand complex concepts, the majority of parents (74.1 percent), teachers (61.2 percent) and scientists (76.9 percent) agreed on educators using a hands-on approach in the classroom. The majority of students (70.4 percent) also said science lessons should be fun.
"Tightening budgets and dwindling resources have played a part in creating this gap in the public school classroom, and many teachers are forced to pay for microscopes, beakers, and other supplies from their own pockets," said Don McKinney, program coordinator at the Math + Science Coalition.
Public school teachers spent an average $485 of their own money on school supplies and classroom materials last year, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association.
To support teachers in stoking students' curiosity, FMC recently announced an employee collection drive to provide Philadelphia School District teachers with the supplies for hands-on science activities. The collected items will be donated to Philadelphia middle school teachers this fall.
"We are extremely grateful to FMC for their recognition of teachers and commitment to improving science education as evidenced by their new and ongoing initiatives," said Frederic Bertley, senior vice president of The Franklin Institute. "This new project, combined with FMC's existing support of teacher professional development at The Franklin Institute, will indeed help to improve science learning throughout the city."
FMC Corporation is a diversified chemical company serving agricultural, industrial, environmental, and consumer markets globally for more than a century with innovative solutions, applications and quality products. In 2012, FMC had annual sales of approximately $3.7 billion. The company employs approximately 5,700 people throughout the world, and operates its businesses in four segments: FMC Agricultural Solutions, FMC Health and Nutrition, FMC Minerals and FMC Peroxygens. For more information, visit www.FMC.com.