Get real: taking science to the next generation of Einsteins

07th Dec 2011

The state of science: If there is a crisis in student enrolment numbers in school science, where does that come from? Denis Goodrum asks whether a new perspective could revolutionise both teaching and learning.

In 1992, 94% of all Australian Year 12 students studied science. According to a soon-to-be-finalised report I’ve been working on, this figure has now shrunk to 50%. Such a dramatic fall in student numbers raises many questions about school science in our country.

Before answering the obvious questions – why the decline, how do we address it? – we maybe have to ask ourselves why science should be taught in schools at all.

The history of science is built upon questions resulting from observations and the gathering of evidence. The answers to these questions form the body of knowledge that is commonly called “science”.

This body of knowledge is continually changing, and in recent years it has been rapidly increasing. And the process of building this scientific knowledge is as important as the knowledge itself.

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