When kids practice authentic science, it isn’t just a project for a fair. It’s an ability to design real solutions for real problems.
“Medicine is what I’ve always been interested in,” says Sophia Brown, a senior at Anoka High School in Central Minnesota. When she was a toddler, she watched her dad work in an operating room. She hopes to cure cancer someday. And her science project that was on display at the Central Minnesota Regional Science Fair at St. Cloud State University reflects her passion.
Brown has developed a tool to help resident surgical assistants learn, as records do not show them getting much hands on experience. She has created an app and a website that allow students to answer questions, react to given situations, and other learning activities. The app is designed for learning outside of hospital hours, as the time inside the hospital is limited during a residency.
Her project is a reflection of authentic science, that is a project that follows genuine inspiration.
“What’s cool is when kids are doing authentic science,” said science teacher Kevin Molohon. “In a typical classroom, you’re teaching lots of facts, but that’s not science. … A good project is one a student is interested in finding the answer to. If it’s something you’re into, you won’t mind doing the research and gathering the data.”