It’s All About Making Observations and Developing Critical Thinking SkillsBy Diana Wehrell-Grabowski on August 26, 2011 in Hands-On Science Explorations by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education, Teacher Training Workshops
No matter what hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based teacher training workshop I’m conducting. A fundamental component of the teacher training is introducing teachers to investigations that help the student develop observational skills, as well as developing critical thinking skills. Developing observational skills and critical thinking skills is essential in all science classes. I find that in my STEM teacher training workshops the need for heightened observational skills and critical thinking skills is crucial for the student to fully comprehend STEM education concepts. Recently, I conducted a 3-day STEM teacher training institute for an elementary school that is in its first year of becoming a STEM school. Throughout the 3 days teachers were actively engaged in exploring STEM concepts through hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based investigations. Many of the teachers shared with me that they had never looked at nature and the world the way they learned to during the training. As teachers we often get caught up in the daily rut of covering mass amounts of information within short periods of time that becomes disjointed with little meaning to the student. The first priority in any classroom is to teach observational skills and help the student develop critical thinking skills. But first, teachers may need to take the time to look closely at nature themselves. The following slideshare below is from a recent Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) teacher training workshop I conducted.