I feel that a comprehensive understanding of science is important for all high school students. However successfully teaching science is more than simply transmitting knowledge of scientific facts and phenomena, but is instead a process of challenging student understanding, while fostering their ability to be inquisitive and use scientific reasoning. Far too often the process of learning science is presented simply as a procedure of memorizing facts, and vocabulary words. This however does not teach students about the actual field of science, and does very little to show students how real science is conducted outside of the classroom. In my experience in the classroom I have found that the most effective and rewarding experiences are realized when the teacher challenges the students to learn through authentic science tasks, and construct understanding of scientific concepts through expanding on their prior knowledge.

One of the reasons that an understanding of science is importance for students is because it allows students to think like a scientist. Through challenging students to analyze and observe phenomena, make and test hypotheses, analyze results and make conclusions teachers can provide students with an authentic experience of how scientists construct meaning in the world. These skills are perhaps the most important thing for students to take away from their classroom experience because they have applications that reach far outside of the classroom, and are tools that students can use to solve problems in a variety of far reaching contexts.

It is through the act of challenging the prior knowledge of students and teaching them how to think like scientists that teachers can best model for students how science is conducted outside of the classroom. Textbooks and other media do a good job of providing students with a wealth of information, but teachers have the ability to present the material in ways that link ideas together, encourage scientific thought, and model for students the authentic process of science learning that happens outside of the classroom walls. These are the authentic experiences that really teach students about science, and will prepare them for when they leave the classroom.

As a teacher I have found that the most rewarding experiences that I have had with students are when I have helped them construct an understanding of a topic that they have spent a lot of time struggling over. I have found that allowing these students to construct meaning from their prior knowledge results in them understanding the material much better than if I had simply supplied them with the answer, and has modeled for them the process that scientists use to construct meaning.

When students enter my classroom I know that most of them will not have a great amount of interest in science. However, my goal as a teacher is to provide them with authentic tasks that allow them to experience how scientists think and act, as well as to demonstrate for them my love of teaching and my love of science. I feel that if I can accomplish these things I will have made a difference for my students regardless of if they decide on choosing a career in science because I am confident that their experience in my classroom will have provided them with the skills necessary to think about science, and to think like a scientist outside of my classroom.

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