Recent research out of both North America and Europe reports that high school students are increasingly less engaged and interested in learning science. Reasons for this may partly be due to the focus of school science education on preparing students for a career in science at the university and beyond. Students spend their time in science class learning a solid body of facts and material designed to give them a core understanding of scientific principles. However, this focus neglects the idea that a knowledge of and appreciation for science should be taught at high school in order to produce, not more scientists, but the next generation of scientifically literate adults capable of assessing multiple sources of information and making decisions that will affect their own lives and society as a whole. In order for this to happen, curiosity must be sparked and independent inquiry encouraged.
We are researching the effects of introducing creativity into the science classroom on the attitudes and beliefs of high school students about science. The types of attitudes we are measuring include the relevance of science to their lives and to the understanding and solving of world problems, their perception of the role of creativity in the scientific process, their identity belonging to a culture of science, and their curiosity about what science can tell us about the world.
We are conducting this research to find out more about how different students learn, and to evaluate whether this method has a positive effect on student engagement with science. We ask students a series of questions before and again after they undertake Creative Science. We are working on analysing our data from a grade 8 and a grade 12 cohort and will post updates here as the results are emerging!
This is a collaborative project between the Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, and is funded by the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) in Canada.