Science education: hands-on learning versus textbook learning

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ART BY SHIRLEEN KWONG
BY GARY LEE
STAFF WRITER

  “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it,”  ―Albert Einstein. 

  It is widely understood that science is often taught through a textbook. This traditional teaching method focuses on the informational aspects of science and has been active in the modern curriculum for decades. However, as time passes, more efficient learning methods such as hands-on science have been integrated in place of these methods, allowing students to gain far more knowledge than they were able to in the past in about a fraction of the time. 

  Although traditional educational methods of teaching provides students with extensive amounts of factual knowledge, the hands-on aspect of science education allows students to gain the experience they need in order to further progress their education and future careers. In short, students today now have the opportunity to learn and experience far more than what is written in a textbook. 

  While a traditional education in science is important, the hands-on aspect is also of equal relevance as the skills and experience that are acquired through interactive learning can play a key role in future job applications. 

  By allowing students to participate in hands-on science education such as labs and experiments, they become more attentive to what they are actually learning about. In doing so they gain the wisdom they need to determine if they are truly interested in the field of science. According to Build Your Future, an organization that helps students find the career they want to pursue, students who had hands-on experiences performed significantly better on tests and exams than students who did not participate. Accordingly, students who did not participate in any hands-on learning were more likely to fail the course than students who did.

  However, as many teachers and instructors would suggest, the principles and foundations of science taught through textbooks are the most crucial part of scientific learning. While the statement holds true, it is hands-on science that can allow students to build off of and expand on what has already been learned. 

 It is widely known to most individuals that a great amount of educational science focuses on the fundamentals that exist within Earth. One topic that students learn about in environmental science is the existence of artificial phenomena, man-made problems such as pollution and global warming that heavily impact Earth’s environment. Sure it is essential to understand what these problems are, but without experience, people can not effectively take action toward solving the problems themselves. Ultimately, this is the reason why it is important to provide younger generations with a well rounded education in science. Problems such as global warming and climate change will only grow over time, so it is imperative that the population is well-informed.

  Basically, hands-on science is of the modern age, the method has proven to be a far more advantageous way of learning science. Compared to the traditional textbook learning method, not only does hands-on science provide students with more experience and wisdom, but it also helps students to actually retain what they have learned. The textbook method may be more familiar to the older generations, but it is the hands-on teachings of science that will ensure their future.

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