Despite these advances, many educators still believe that hands-on education is still crucial and irreplaceable in science teaching, no matter how advanced our teaching resources become.
Hands-on education provides students direct experiences with phenomena and materials. For example, instead of merely looking at video recordings of different kinds of weather conditions, students are encouraged to go outside and observe the sky for themselves.
Rather than relying on drawings of cells in textbooks, they are urged to look under a microscope and investigate slides containing such cells.
Instead of simply showing video presentations on how magnets work, why not let the students hold a magnet and see how some objects are attracted to it, while others are not?
There are probably a million and one ways to practice hands-on science instruction, especially for younger learners, who have yet to experience many phenomena that we adults tend to take for granted.
Much research supports continued hands-on science education. Hands-on science education enables students to not only encounter and remember scientific information, but also build a functional understanding of such data. It aids in the development of communication skills, as learners attempt to articulate their own observations instead of passively memorizing facts provided in books. It promotes keener perception and positive attitudes towards learning. It allows students to become independent and creative learners, able to interpret information and make their own judgment.
As a science teacher, I believe that hands-on science education is a vital instructional approach. Practical application has so many advantages that it should not be brushed aside, even as we enjoy the new and undeniably easier ways of presenting the lessons to students. I urge my fellow science educators, if they haven’t already, to take a chance on hands-on science education. It is a rewarding experience for both the teacher and the students they discover the wonders of the world together.