Imagine a science curriculum that incorporates the process of questioning and discovery into a hands-on learning environment. Students are asked questions like, “Why is the moon half dark at night?” or “How does a telescope work?” and then discuss their ideas. They are given equipment to investigate the phenomenon, either recreating it or building replicas in the form of models. Individual memorization is less important than the team of participants working together to acquire the data reliably and critiquing each other’s ideas to develop the most accurate explanation for the phenomena they’ve seen.
Expand upon this idea and imagine an education built entirely on this model of instruction, in which children encounter many such challenges over the course of elementary, middle, and secondary school. In the words of Dr. Bruce Alberts, former president of the National Academies of Sciences and editor-in-chief of Science Magazine, “children who are prepared for life in this way would be great problem solvers in the workplace, with the abilities and the can-do attitude that are needed to be competitive in the global economy. Even more important, they will also be more rational human beings – people who are able to make wise judgments for their family, their community, and their nation.”