Next month I’m getting cataract surgery- I’ve worn glasses since the 6th grade. With new multi-focal lenses, I likely won’t ever have to wear glasses again. In places like Burma, doctors are curing the blind with 20-minute cataract surgeries. -Thank you scientists.
Today I was directed here by GPS with this very small device that fits in my pocket-which is also my camera, audio book, personal stereo, international news source, instant argument solver (thank you google), my dictionary, calendar, mini-movie theater, address book and control over my hearing aids when I get them (per my daughter- it won’t be long)—Thank you scientists.
We are surrounded by the tangible and intangible outcomes produced by the meticulous work of scientists around the world. So, a big thank you from all of us!
We all have a role to play to save the planet. What should we do? For me, education is the obvious answer. Here’s what I want:
Parents-The first time your toddler discovers that mixing water and dirt together can create a cool mud pie, I want you to celebrate your miniature scientist and nurture that sense of wonder and discovery from then on.
Teachers and Administrators-I want you to realize, that despite all the pressures for good test scores and school grades, that there IS time for developmental play/recess, field trips, science labs, thematic learning and hands-on problem solving.
Everyone-I want you to know that school and fun do not have to be antonyms; they can be synonyms. There is nothing more fun than learning how to read a book or play an instrument or do a science experiment in a lab.
I want you all to remember–Children are naturally curious and love to learn. They will persevere IF we can just refrain from draining all the joy and adventure from learning. No adult nor child likes constant grading, testing and tedious homework. School should not be about stress; it should be about challenge—and that’s what science is.
Science makes sense of the world and teaches us to question things don’t make sense. Science teaches students how to make and defend an argument based on real facts supported by evidence.
Our education system needs a make-over. Students literally have all the facts and figures that they need at their fingertips. Science education needs to start on day one of pre-kindergarten with that first mud pie or bumble bee that lands on the flower. The Scientific method which values trial and error and learning from mistakes should be at the core of our instructional methods.
Legislators and policy makers: I want you to listen to educators. We need to have a serious talk about what does and does not work when it comes to nurturing our future scientists and mathematicians, as well as our artists and poets. We need you to use the scientific method and research how to save our public schools-It’s not rocket Science! Start by asking a teacher.
Next attract young people and working scientists to become teachers by providing a good salary. Teaching is the most noble profession; we need to treat it as such. And if any of you out there want to become a teacher-we need you, now more than ever.
I can tell you with certainty that the path we are on now, which rewards correct answers on tests over in-depth learning is not the way forward. If we are counting on the next generation to save our planet- we need to make sure they can solve complex problems, not just answer multiple choice questions. Science is the opposite of being rewarded for the right answers; science is about asking the right questions.
My earth day t-shirt didn’t arrive on time, but here’s what it said and what I believe– NO SCIENCE, NO LIFE— KNOW SCIENCE, KNOW LIFE.