Children are naturally curious. They always want to know “why”, “how”, “when” and “what” something is.
They have a genuine interest in everything and can be taught anything but this curiosity gradually fades with age. So how do you teach young people new things?
In a TED Talk given by Ramsey Musallam , a high school chemistry teacher, on how to encourage learning he suggested the first step to be “confusing the student” making them ask questions thereby capturing their attention. I think this is a very effective method which works for every age group. In my opinion, if you can arouse/stimulate someone’s interest, you can get them to learn.
This is effectively what STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) aims to achieve. After a very engaging talk by David Rogers, the STEM Outreach Manager at Newcastle College, we were asked to make free standing towers out of spaghetti sticks and get it to support a gummy bear (apparently this is possible!) even though I had no idea how to do this, it was the highlight of the session just because it got me questioning the feasibility of the task. This kind of approach is also used by musuems where interesting images and sculptures are used to captivate students and arouse their interest.
It is not only an efficient approach but it’s also a lot of fun and students love to have fun (Who doesn’t?).