Scientific Literacy: Why It Matters

By National Education Association

Scientific literacy matters, regardless of what career path your child chooses to pursue, the critical thinking skills needed for science will help them succeed at school, work and life. Science requires us to observe, question, test and evaluate—then question again and revise our opinions as needed.

Science is about continually acquiring new knowledge and holding ourselves and others accountable. Most importantly, it’s about keeping an open and curious mind. In a world with an overwhelming amount of information, the scientific method of learning is more important than ever.

Developing scientific literacy should be a priority at every stage of your child’s education—both inside and outside of the classroom. You play an important role. Encourage your child to explore and question the world around them, as well as continue with their science education.

Science in Today’s Classroom

Science is not just a subject. It is a way of understanding the world, a pattern of thinking that begins in the very earliest years. That’s why teachers often integrate science or scientific methods into other subjects. In fact, taking an integrated approach to teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and even art is a top priority in today’s classrooms.Educators want to prepare students for a more complex, interconnected world, with jobs that require critical thinking, teamwork and problem-solving skills—in essence, scientific literacy.

That’s why it’s so important to discourage children from saying or believing they’re not good at science. Science is something we continue to practice throughout our lives.

Getting a Good Science Education

You can monitor your child’s learning  from elementary through high school and look for the following:

  • Less memorization, more hands-on experimentation and real-world problem solving
  • More discussion and group activities
  • An environment where:
    • Questions are highly encouraged, even rewarded
    • There is more than one right answer to problems
    • Showing your reasoning is just as important as showing the answer

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