KQED Mindshift: Bringing Scientists to Schools, and the Thrill of Field Trips to Class

In many schools, field trips are becoming a rare luxury. But what if there was a way to bring the excitement that students show for those real-world experiences into the classroom?

An Australian organization called Scientists in Schools has flipped the field trip model, pairing volunteer scientists and mathematicians with classrooms around the country. Australian schools, like many schools around the world, don’t teach a lot of science at the primary school level. Teachers, who are responsible for covering all  subjects, lack confidence when teaching science. Similarly, while there is a focus on numbers in primary grades, some of the broader elegance of math is lost. Australia performs well on international achievement tests, but its students report feeling disengaged and don’t often choose to specialize in math and science as they get older.

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