At the AZK12 STEM Conference that began yesterday, opening keynote Dr. Maragret Honey shared how she is dedicated to grow the next generation of science innovators. These three concepts of design, make and play are at the heart of her work at New York Hall of Science (NYCSI).
DESIGN: Dr. Honey focused first on how the demand for skills has changed. We once relied on people. Now we rely on technology. This is true for most of us most of the time, but this is the reality for our students. Since this is the case, she stated we need our schools and classrooms to look more like science centers. No, you do not need to pay thousands of dollars for exhibits, but instead provide students with the resources to do so themselves. Allow them to take ownership of their learning community and to set it up with innovation.
MAKE: Educating students means to provide exploration and creativity. We were then introduced to maker faires as just one way to celebrate students and provide an opportunity for students to communicate their learning. Providing access to learning in a meaningful way, students will take ownership and embrace science as…fun.
PLAY: She first quoted Pat Kane's The Play Ethic, "Play is the medium at which children learn. Then it stops." Take field trips to another level other than somewhat controlled chaos at museums. The Design Lab at NYCSI creates extensive, hands-on and hands-in projects that bring science and play to life. Dr. Honey clearly shared the message to the audience of educators that routine is out and that we need to provide opportunities for students to be innovators and synthesizers.
How do you provide these opportunities for your students?