Helping kids discover how to learn about famous scientists and their struggles is keeping students engaged in learning science.
Many students find that science is not easy and learning can be discouraging. But new research from Columbia University shows that teaching them about the difficulties encountered by famous scientists can serve to encourage them.
The researchers studied 402 students in ninth and tenth grades at four high schools in the Bronx and Harlem. Students were divided into two groups. Half read a book passage that told of the successes of Einstein, Marie Curie, and Michael Faraday.
The remaining students read about challenges and failures that affected the scientists, such as Einstein’s departure from Nazi Germany.
After six weeks, researchers reviewed grade trends.
For the study, researchers from Columbia University divided 402 students in ninth and tenth grade at four high schools serving predominantly low-income populations in the Bronx and Harlem areas of New York City. Half of the students were asked to read a science book passage recounting the major scientific successes and discoveries of Einstein, Marie Curie and Michael Faraday.
Finding the difference in scientists’ experiences opened up new experiences showing students how to learn.