Stillwater, Oklahoma —
McKeever, who also serves as OSU’s vice president for research and technology transfer, said a disconnect exists between children’s interests and the fields they decide to pursue when they’re older. Children are overwhelmingly interested in dinosaurs and space, he said — both subjects that deal in science. But when they grow up, they lose interest in pursuing those areas of study.
McKeever said part of the problem is the way science is taught. Rather than engaging students in the scientific process, he said, science courses tend to involve book work.
McKeever compared that method with the way football is taught. The equivalent, he said, would be if schools held daily courses about the game but couldn’t afford to build a field or buy pads.
In many cases, McKeever said, public schools don’t have laboratory space, meaning they can’t provide students with the experience of working on hands-on projects. As valuable as classroom instruction is, he said, it doesn’t inspire students to pursue a career in science.
“We’re teaching kids about science,” he said. “We’re not teaching them to do science.”
Silas Allen writes for the Stillwater NewsPress.