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Photonics explorer

 

What does a child typically do in a science class? She listens to what someone found out 100 or 200 years ago - about something she has never seen as an issue before. Then she calculates with numbers and greek letters that are supposed to have a meaning to her. A good part of the lesson she exercises copying texts and drawings from the blackboard. From time to time she watches her teacher performing some show, which can hardly compete with what is presented in "science shows" on TV or in video clips on the internet.

Of course, this is a bit exaggerated. However, in history children learn about what had happened in the past. In math lessons they learn to calculate. In art they learn to make drawings. But where do they learn to do science? Imagine you would have to learn a language without being allowed to construct and even say your own sentence. Obviously it would be difficult to keep up your motivation, what in turn would hinder your progress in that language. Unfortunately, that is the situation in many science classes. Children are seldom given the opportunity to work themselves scientifically.

Ideally, students would be challenged with research tasks that spark their interest. They would be helped to diagnose the problem and formulate it in away that it can be scientifically analyzed. They would learn how to find and evaluate information and how to apply them to the specific case. They would build their own hypothesis, plan their own investigation, and conduct experiments themselves. Measurements and results would be discussed with their peers and coherent arguments formed. Models would be created and the limitation of their application clearly defined. The impact of the findings would be analyzed in a wider context and students would see how the results relate to their personal life and the society in general.