Bill Kuhl: Children losing ability to learn science

Letter to the editor
2011-08-04T00:00:00Z Bill Kuhl: Children losing ability to learn scienceBy BILL KUHL | Winona Winona Daily News
August 04, 2011 12:00 am  • 

There are a couple of articles I have read within the last couple of months that have expanded my view to the importance of children doing hands-on science.

The first was a formal study conducted by two professors, Robert H. Tai at the University of Virginia and Adam V. Maltese of Indiana University, about what first engaged a person in science. From the experiences of 116 scientists and graduate students, they found that an interest in science began before middle school.

The second article, co-authored by Gordon Schimmel, whom I have met, and Arthur Ellis, is about creating project-based programs in museums, but the items I will quote concur with my observations.

From what I have seen in the workshops I have conducted through various programs, the interest is very high, but people really struggle with the building aspects.

Schimmel and Ellis said: "They may hold the power of the ages in their hands, but many are flat-screen junkies who are losing an understanding of the 3-D world around them.

"Sadly, this means that many children have lost what we would call ‘spatial intelligence' - the ability to use common household tools effectively, to take mechanical things apart and successfully reassemble them, to understand how things work - most of what we take for granted in our everyday world.

"Ironically, the loss is coupled with an increased need for scientists, mathematicians and engineers, at a time when fewer children grow up with an understanding about the world around them. Increasingly, our citizens lack any personal hands-on knowledge about what makes up the mechanical and technological life in the 21st century, from how airplanes fly to what makes an electric motor run."

Copyright 2015 Winona Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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