Looking at past scientific discoveries and repeating the processes scientists used to arrive at the outcome is often elaborated on in the classroom. Contrarily, contemporary science focuses on that which is left to be solved. By shifting focus to contemporary science in your STEM classroom, students will learn the investigation skills they need to solve the science problems of today.
To learn more about the role of contemporary science in the STEM classroom, check out this resource: Using Contemporary Science to Enhance STEM Learning.
Become Better Problem Solvers
Because contemporary science has no desired outcome, students will not be trying to find the right answer but rather solve the problem according to what they know. This requires students to do more investigation into the issue, applying structured problem-solving methods such as the engineering design method or the 5E model to reach a potential solution. While their solutions may not fix the problem, the pursuit of the answer will enhance students’ abilities to think like scientists and become better problem solvers.
Learn to Ask the Right Questions
Additionally, focusing on contemporary science also teaches students how to ask the right questions. In typical science lessons, students are focused on the “what,” as repeating proven scientific processes shows them what these processes do and how they are significant to science. However, focusing on contemporary science encourages them to ask “why” and “how,” as they will be investigating why the problem is occurring and how it can be solved. This encourages a deeper look beneath the surface. This approach will be more question-driven than concept-driven.
Apply Critical Thinking to Real-World Situations
Focusing on contemporary science also allows students to apply what they are learning to the real world. Because contemporary science focuses on problems that are occurring now, students see how the processes they are working through are applicable to the real world. This encourages them to look for solutions by asking questions about the world they live in. Students not only sharpen their ability to solve problems through contemporary science, but it also encourages critical thought of their surroundings.
Search for ways to implement contemporary science in your classroom, and watch as students become better problem solvers, critical thinkers and focused questioners of the world around them.