April Section Meeting: “ARMS Adult Role Models in Science”
At our monthly meeting on Apr 21, 2016, Dolly Ledin spoke to our section about a class she teaches that involves UW students going to local grade schools and teaching science once a week. The class is part of the Adult Role Models in Science (ARMS) program, which is about introducing school children to science and engineering. Spending time with a mentor children can look up to is helpful even to students who go into fields not directly related to science.
According to Ledin, the evidence is clear that inquiry-based science learning helps students gain critical thinking skills and self-confidence around learning. It improves grades across the board. But to really reap the benefits of science learning so it can impact their trajectory in school and in life, kids need science in elementary school. Unfortunately, most kids aren’t getting enough, and the science they do get is often based on facts rather than transferable thinking skills and taught by adults who are uncomfortable with their own science learning. ARMS is about building relationships and teaching kids life skills.
For the first there is a “Next Generation” nationwide science curriculum. Madison is beginning to implement it. The programs calls for elementary school students to spend 50% of the science instruction time on engineering topics. The ARMS program can help teachers execute this. Ms. Ledin said if you ask kids their favorite subject they often say science and engineering because kids naturally like doing experiments. Engineering instruction exposes kids the concept of learning from failure. They get to do something that does not work out perfectly and then improve it or fix it another day.
The ARMS program has a website here for more information. Ledin’s talk was recorded as a Camtasia Screencast available for replay here.