SCIENCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY NO LONGER FITS IN A NEAT LITTLE BOX
Science, at its very nature, is an ever-changing field. New hypotheses are proposed and new research begins. Scientific study often creates as many new questions as it answers. As American (and British) Scientist, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan noted, “Science is curiosity, testing and experimenting.” Knowledge is gained, not by simply studying traditional subjects such as language, maths, science, arts, social studies, and PSPE, but through trans-disciplinary study and exploration. In the Primary Years Programme (PYP), science is about exploration. Students naturally explore the relationships between the biological, chemical and physical aspects of the world.
Inquiry in Action
Curiosity is often the catalyst for scientific inquiry. In-depth understanding comes as students explore concepts and how they are interconnected. Teachers at OWIS design instruction to foster the skills needed to participate in inquiry-based scientific investigation across all subject areas. Limiting scientific inquiry to a single disciplinary theme would limit students’ understanding of the world as a whole.
In the OWIS classroom, students receive the scaffolding they need to ask meaningful questions and the tools they need to test their hypotheses. Learning about Life Science, Materials and Matter and Forces & Energy occurs naturally as scientific content is purposefully integrated across the six trans-disciplinary themes in the PYP framework. We want our students to understand how the different aspects of science intertwine with one another. We support discussion, debate, varied hypotheses and most of all we support one another’s ideas and opinions. Science is all around us, and giving our students the opportunity for practical experience is a key aspect of our curriculum.
Science and Our World
Hands-on and real-life simulations help students develop an awareness of their impact on not only themselves but the world as a whole. Through science students can gain an understanding that everything has a purpose in the world, whether it be a cellular level or lifesize, and each of these roles is an important aspect in our world. One of the overarching goals we have at OWIS is to help students develop a sense of responsibility for their learning. As students progress through the PYP, they learn that successful inquiry goes beyond arriving at answers. It may be the case that their inquiry leads to more questions, but that is what is so wonderful about science. Students are given the tools to take responsible, thoughtful and appropriate action as global citizens. We want to make our students passionate about asking questions, bettering their knowledge and developing their minds. We want to expose them to the potential of different outcomes and results. Not everything in the world is black and white, so science is an amazing way to open our minds and bring the world into colour.
Global Citizen Preparation at OWIS
At OWIS, we prepare students for a future that does not yet exist. Our “future-proof” education aims to create global citizens that tackle challenges head-on. Students learn to work together to accomplish goals and put their conceptual understanding to the test by taking action to create change. Our main goal is to get our students to ask questions, inquire and take a true interest in finding out more. At so many points in life we may find that we don’t know the answer, but by developing these critical thinking skills at a young age, we are able to work through any barriers to reach our end goal. This is something which will be important throughout their lives, whatever career or life path they take.
The interdisciplinary approach to science education leads to a deeper understanding of how the world works and how each of us plays a part in the global economy. To learn more about how we nurture 21st century learners and our PYP programme, please Contact Us today, or Book a Campus Tour.
(This blog was originally written in collaboration with Ms Sebrina Loh, former Primary Maths Coordinator, OWIS Nanyang.)