Every school in America is required to teach science. This is because science and scientific learning is a fundamental part of our existence. Most everything that we encounter on a day-to-day basis is, in some way, related to science. Even when we are sleeping, science is there to explain why we need to sleep and what takes place while we are sleeping. Because of this, science education is essential to life as we know it. Of course there will be many people who are happy to go through life without knowing how a bird can fly. Even given this fact, there will always be something that they will need to know and understand that is grounded in science. Even if it is something as simple as ‘fire is hot’ or ‘getting punched hurts. Science is there to explain these simple things too.
A good foundation in science through science education is required for all children, but the way that this education takes place is not strictly defined. With that said, many schools will take to science experiments using hands-on science products and supplies. This is an excellent way for students to ‘see’ the science around them. Often times learning from a book can be tedious and will cause students to become uninterested in the subject matter. A science experiment, however, is interactive and forces the students to take part in science learning. These projects don’t have to be complicated and will usually result in a much higher level of learning retention.
There are a few reasons why children better retain knowledge gained through scientific experimentation. One is it allows you to appeal to those children who are visual learners. These students are the ones who need pictures or demonstrations to remember things. Words just don’t stick in their minds as well, but when they can see a science demonstration or visualize an experiment, they can comprehend and retain the subject matter with much better success. Many students tend to thrive in science because it offers the visual aspect that many other subject matters do not.
Another reason that knowledge gained through science experimentation is retained longer by students is because they are actively engaged. They can’t simply skim through the experiment, they have to make sure that they are doing things correctly, and the only way to ensure that is by understanding what is going on. It forces students to understand the science behind what they are doing, and if they don’t, often times the experiment won’t turn out right.
Finally, hands-on science experimentation gives the student a sense of accomplishment. It is a reward of sorts, to have the experiment turn out correctly. That reassurance and sense of achievement at the end of each experiment will cause them to want to do more. It will also give them more confidence in what they are doing and possibly cause them to take up more science projects on their own. They will already be comfortable with the process they need to follow and will merely need their own ideas and theories to start their own projects. Even their own small science projects will increase their knowledge of how the world around them works and functions.