Stemming the Decline in Scientific Creativity
As schools aim for ever-higher science exam results and value-added scores, there can be a corresponding decline in scientific creativity. Science, however, requires design skills, team work, experimentation, problem resolution, research and critical thinking; and today these classic STEM skills and capabilities can be as important as traditional Knowledge. When students have the ideas, skills and enthusiasm, then knowledge will inevitably follow – conversely exam results don’t necessarily result in scientific confidence, passion and innovative new designers for the wealth-generating industries.
At NCBIS, we try to blend the two, gaining knowledge by a range of activities from inquiry through traditional experimentation work, to creative Science Fairs. Each Key Stage Three year group has the opportunity for independent or team research, using and being assessed on the scientific method, innovation and the complexity of the investigation, researching topics of their choice. Results have been spectacular, from experiments using yeast to innovative fruit electrolytes, plant growth factors to an exciting model of Newton’s cradle. The fairs have led to interest, enthusiasm, communication and research; and this motivates the whole group to push the limits and strive for success. “The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating”, and in our case 60% A* and A grades at GCSE can definitely be correlated with motivation, desire, resilience, willingness and abilty to work problems out at source. As a scientific analogy, they really do “reach for the stars”, as Year 7 show!