With the number of British schoolchildren studying physics falling to its lowest number in over a decade, education officials are having to deal with an unexpected problem: How to make science seem cool to teenagers.
The Independent reports that the UK's Secretary of State for Schools, Ed Balls, is looking to the siren song of experimentation to lure in unsuspecting kids:
Science is one of our country's great strengths and the jobs of the future are increasingly going to be hi-tech and science based. That's why we need all young people getting excited, doing experiments and learning about science in primary schools and going on to study science in more depth at secondary school... Experiments teach children practical methods and skills and also how to test hypotheses, but they are also fun and challenging and make learning come alive.
While the number of children studying chemistry and biology is on the rise, physics is falling foul of student apathy in British schools. Kathy Sykes, co-director of the Cheltenham Science Festival, which opens this Wednesday, thinks she may know why:
At school, science can be all about learning stuff that is already known... Science is about asking good questions. When I learnt science I thought that it was tedious. When I did science I thought it was great.
Is the problem all in the presentation? If so, I'm all for schools paying for special episodes of Fringe, where Walter Bishop will teach a lesson or two. Who wouldn't want to learn how everything works from that man?
Experiments key to making science cool at school [Independent.co.uk]