From “Recognition” to “Understanding” and “Application.” A student response to learning
My article “Experimental Physics“, was to demonstrate answers to academic questions: “Why do children study so much at school? Why do they need integrals, trigonometry, thermodynamics, electronic configurations of atoms, microscopic structure of cells, etc.? Where in life can physics, chemistry, mathematics be useful? “
But, what do the students think? I asked our students to respond directly to the same questions.
“Is it important to learn at school: power by 10, fractions, photosynthesis, integrals, trigonometry, thermodynamics, electronic configurations of atoms, microscopic cell structure, etc.?
“Yes, because I think it is better to know something than finding out that you don’t know something you might need to know.”
“Yes, because if you want to study science or math or something like that in the future, this knowledge would be very useful. Also, I think it is pretty interesting.”
“If kids in others schools learn about this I think that we should not be behind and learn about it also.”
“Yes, because later in life I can choose to study this topic.”
“Yes, probably to improve my understanding of the world.”
“Yes, to improve my general knowledge”.
“Yes, you need to learn at school that stuff, because you will most certainly use it in future and if you don’t know the basic stuff you won’t be able to learn the stuff that’s building on it.”
“You do, because you never know what will happen in life, you might be a NASA scientist or you might be an art consultant, that is why I believe you should try to learn everything because you never know what will happen.”
“I would be interested in learning this because it sounds interesting.”
“Yes, because this will be useful to you because you know everything and you can have best future.”
“Yes, because when you want to be a doctor you need to know this”.
“Yes, because it is better to know more than less. Being in school is because we need to learn as much as we can. We need to learn this because maybe if you want to have a specific job you need to know something then they won’t let you have the job.”
“I think it is important to know it because it is not useless, maybe we will not need it in our life, but I think it is good to know and maybe my future job will use some of these and when I learn it now it is better.”
“Yes, because I think you can use it.”
“Yes. Because sometimes you won’t have a calculator and you will need to know how to calculate. Also in the future if you want to do a job that has something to do with math or science then you will need to know how to do it. They don’t look it up on google they make up their own formula.”
“My opinion this is that I think it is important to learn these things for the students that are interested in studying medicine, chemistry or physics in future, which I am so it is useful for me.”
“I think that it is important to have a wider perspective of knowledge. My answer therefore is “yes”, because I want to have knowledge from various fields like Science, Math, History even though if might not relate to my job in the future.”
“By learning this we increase our brain capacity and improve the skill that is responsible for us to understand context and basically the “learning to learn skills”. I am the kind of person who loves to learn and when I learn new thing it makes me feel like one day in the future I will be successful because I have the skill. I especially love chemistry and biology and languages. These subjects mean the most to me because I truly LOVE learning them.”
“I do not know, it’s school and I can’t complain because if I would I would just waist precious air for no reason”.
“Not everything, I think we can use chemistry if we will be a scientist when we grow up, but I don’t think we will use almost any of it if we will not be scientists.”
“Some yes some no. The “yes part” are basic actions you need for your life. The “no” are things you don’t need for your life goal. But you can learn them anyway, if you want.”
“I like science but there are many units I don’t like but would give it a try.”
Second question. “Where in your life can physics, chemistry, mathematics be useful?”
“Everywhere because you can explain things that you can’t explain yourself if you don’t know this and you don’t have the education about it and math is basically one of the most important things for everyday living for example you need to calculate how much money do you need for when you go to the grocery store…“
“Well, we can use math every day because we either want to or need to. We are also using physics and chemistry every day even when sometimes we don’t know about it.”
“For me mathematics can be useful in programming and computer science which I am already doing and will continue later in my life.”
“You can use it if you want to be a doctor or a scientist and you will need the things you learn in elementary school. So you can afterwards build on them.”
“Physics and mathematics because I am interested in being an engineer.”
“Physics extends into your everyday life because it describes motion, how things work, science behind an ordinary experience etc. It would be very useful if you want to become a scientist, science teacher, doctor, aerospace industries engineer and a lot more. Chemistry is also very important because it also tells us how everything works. Chemistry could be useful if you want to become a pharmacist, doctor, chemist; engineer and even banker. Mathematics is crucial in almost every topic that you are willing to study in the future.”
“If you want to go to a prestigious College or University you should be able to control this knowledge. But also in basic life you need sometimes math and others for example when you want to buy a brand new carpet you need to know how big it is and if it’s going to fit in your house.”
“Mathematics can be useful when you go to a shop and they give you money back. They can give you a wrong amount of money and trick you. Chemistry can be used in the kitchen and when you do the laundry.”
“You can mainly use this information if you are a scientist, but I think, for example, Math, can be useful for some other job too.”
“It is useful because maybe you will need it in the future I don’t know if I will use it because I am still a kid. It also answers some questions that you wanted to know. Or mathematics for example you are in a shop and they give you wrong change.”
“When you are at the shop and you have a limit for how much you can spend you will need to calculate if you can get something and how much you can get.”
“That’s where experiments happen, and you need to know this for experiments.”
“I don’t know because I don’t have a job.”
“If you are an architect, for example, you need to make sure that your building will not collapse on itself.”
“Baking uses physics, chemistry and mathematics because you have to measure ingredients, make solutions and use different states of matter.”
“We could use mathematics in our everyday live. Physics and chemistry would probably be useful to scientists, doctors or even companies like NASA.”
“I think that mathematics is really important to learn because we need it always. Chemistry is also important but it also matters about what my future job will be and if I will use it or not.”
“Physics is all around us and I think it is important to learn about even if it is just for basic understanding of where and how we live. Math is used in our everyday lives even if we don’t realize it. I feel the same way about chemistry. In the future when I have kids and they are going to need help with their homework I want to be able to help them no matter if it is Math or Physics or Chemistry. I also want to have a variety of things I understand and know about because it might help me in the future.”
Our students recognize that knowledge is necessary for the development of personality, future profession and everyday life.
What remains is to grow from “recognition” to “understanding” to “application.”