Aug 09

Importance of Science Education & Communication for Students

by Trent Baumbach

Importance of Science Education & Communication for Students

Importance of Science Education & Communication for Students

Introduction

In a technology-driven world, a strong foundation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is no longer a luxury but a necessity. From climate change to pandemics, science is at the heart of solving major challenges facing society. As such, a solid grounding in science for elementary and middle school students is essential.

And when it comes to fostering an interest in science, the earlier the better. The U.S. Department of Education reported that students who are interested in STEM fields by the end of 8th grade are three times more likely to eventually pursue careers in STEM fields.

Outlined below are 5 reasons science education can benefit students (plus 3 bonus benefits of science communication!). 

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What are the key benefits of science education for students?

     1. Understanding the World

According to a 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) study, a mere 34% of eighth-grade students in the United States demonstrated proficiency in understanding scientific principles. Since many students don’t have dedicated science classes until middle school, supplementary courses or activities are needed for them to understand the complexities of the world, from the ecosystems around us to the technology in our hands.

     2. Development of Critical Thinking

Science isn’t just a body of knowledge – it’s a way of thinking. A 2015 meta-analysis published in the Review of Educational Research found that teaching students to think critically in science classes could improve their overall critical thinking skills. In an age of information overload, the ability to analyze and evaluate data in all contexts is a key asset.

     3. Informed Decision Making

Creativity is a vital 21st-century skill. According to a study published in the Journal of STEM Education, students involved in hands-on science projects exhibited a 50% increase in creative thinking skills, as they often had to devise unique solutions to the challenges they faced.

     4. Scientific Literacy

Even though most people see the value in understanding science, scientific literacy remains low. According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018, a dismal 7% of students across OECD countries could evaluate scientific information based on the quality of the methods and the validity of the conclusions. This lack of scientific literacy shows that very, very few students receive the comprehensive science education they need.

      5. Career Opportunities

There’s also a practical aspect to science education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are projected to grow 8% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. A strong foundation in science thus opens up a wealth of career opportunities for students.

What are the key benefits of science communication for students?

     1. Developing Structured Thinking Skills

Effective communication is also key to scientific literacy. Learning to communicate scientific ideas effectively helps students improve their overall communication skills, including reading comprehension, writing, and public speaking. With science communication, students must be aware of the right data, insights, and implications to convey, as well as the right structure to do so. Students can make the most progress on this by working alongside a teacher or tutor with expertise in this area.

     2. Enhancing Collaboration

Science is inherently collaborative. Good science communication promotes teamwork and collaboration, as students learn to listen to, understand, and build upon each other’s ideas as they pursue a common goal. According to a 2016 study published in “CBE Life Science Education,” science students working in groups demonstrated higher comprehension and problem-solving skills. This means that while at-home science experiments can be insightful for students, without working in groups, they won’t reap the full benefits.

     3. Encouraging Active Learning

Engaging students in explaining and communicating about science fosters active learning. The National Science Teaching Association endorses science communication in schools as a means of improving students’ overall understanding and engagement with science. By pushing students to take a step beyond their science experiments and learn how to convey their findings to others, they can further their academic growth.

How can my child get hands-on science education?

If you want to get your child interested in science, Tokyo Academics is here to help. See below for three ideas featured in our previous blog, “10 Benefits of Doing Hands-On Science for Students.

  • Group Science Classes

Group science classes emphasize collaborative learning through science experiments, which foster creativity and critical thinking among students and their peers. The vast majority of scientific and engineering projects in the professional world are done in teams, so group classes emphasizing science experiments for kids may be the best way to prepare students for these future working scenarios. 

  • Science Camps and Clubs

Science summer camps, after-school programs, and school clubs often provide hands-on learning opportunities. For example, Tokyo Coding Club offers three unique summer camps in Gunma, Hakuba, and Tokyo, that blend exciting outdoor activities with programming and robotics curriculum. In this format, students can make lifelong memories and advance their science skills.

  • Online Learning and DIY Experiments

Several online platforms offer interactive, hands-on science courses and workshops. Furthermore, websites like Science Bob and The Kitchen Pantry Scientist offer lots of fun science projects for kids, that you can do at home. Working with a private tutor on science will allow students to take these activities one step further by working one-on-one to dissect the scientific process and see how the learnings from these experiments apply to real-world problems.

What should I do next to improve my child’s science education?

In conclusion, science education and communication are helpful tools for building active learners, critical thinkers, and innovators. By investing in science education, students will find personal growth, academic success, and even future career opportunities.
It can be hard to find opportunities for kids to get hands-on science practice in Japan, especially for international students in Japan. Luckily, Tokyo Academics offers group classes and one-on-one tutoring ideal for students to grow their science skills. Please click the link below to meet our experienced science tutors who can help your child reach their academic goals!

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