An Academy That Teaches Science by Focusing on Social Impact
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Faculty at the Talcott Mountain Science Center and Academy don't think kids should learn science by sitting down with a textbook. They have seen first-hand how the learning process is accelerated by encouraging curiosity, questioning the status quo in scientific exploration, and striving to use scientific understanding to contribute value to society.
At Wonder's Peak explores how teachers at the academy are coaching students through the discovery process, and inspiring them to apply their knowledge in breakthrough ways.
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
- Benjamin Franklin
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"We are interpreters of science."
- Jonathan R. Craig, Executive Director, Talcott Mountain Science Center
The academy's approach is that while science books teach about something that once happened, they look at events that are happening now in science - like earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and technological breakthroughs. "We are translating for elementary and science teachers how to explain these phenomena to children, how to get them interested in learning more on their own," the academy's Executive Director explains.
A case in point: the student pictured here developed an infrared imaging system to help track her own case of scoliosis without the use of harmful x-rays.
A Holistic Way of Looking at Education
In contrast to the way students traditionally learned, where teachers were the "custodians of knowledge," now technology enables students to get knowledge and information gleaned from literally millions of people working on scientific challenges worldwide. “We don’t want to be the sage on the stage, we want to be the guide on the side. Kids can go anywhere they want in the world, get the information from other experts who are researching the same thing. It's really multiplied the power of their thinking caps," marvels teacher John Pellino.
At Talcott Mountain Science Center and Academy, the important lesson is always to use that technology, information and knowledge to achieve positive impact in the world around you.
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