In other news, Dennis Bartels, executive director of the Exploratorium in San Francisco, wrote a provocative article for Scientific American entitled, "Critical Thinking is Best Taught Outside the Classroom." Bartels credits museums and other informal learning settings as being better suited to teach kids how to ask questions than elementary and secondary schools.
"Formal education, which is driven by test taking, is increasingly failing to require students to ask the kind of questions that lead to informed decisions," Bartels writes. He goes on to describe research conducted at the Exploratorium that found that teaching museum-goers to ask "What if?" questions leads them to explore more deeply and engage in better inquiry. Not only that, but participants even learned how to ask better questions as they continued to explore.
We are thrilled that our Steering Committee members continue to lead the way in high quality science experiences in after school settings. Stay tuned for more news from the Coalition coming soon!