Some highlights from Science lab awareness classes from PSM Science lab awareness month. The ultimate aim of training students in a science lab is not merely to fill them with facts, but to help them learn how to approach and analyze a problem. How do we formulate questions and establish facts? How do we determine the meanings of observations? How do we reason? Teaching students to think critically can be approached by helping them develop an awareness of the steps one goes through in a scientific investigation. A difficult thing to convey to students is that everyone is capable of doing science. Students’ lack of confidence in their scientific abilities often results from high school science courses in which they were taught only to memorize facts and formulae. As a result, they never learned that science is as much a way of thinking as it is a body of knowledge. These students can often be helped by using examples of hypothesis formulation and testing that relate to non-laboratory situations.
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