Teaching Science to children

The most important theme for a beginning outreach provider is to recognize that modern educational practices stress the need for inquiry-based methods in teaching science for diverse learning styles. This is discussed , for example, in the publications from the National Science Teachers Association. One stype does not fit all. Thus the following paragraphs from Collected Wisdom: American Indian Education L. Cleary & T. Peacock (1997) p. 172, although written about Native American students, apply to all students.

  1. There is a danger of overgeneralizing the findings of limited research studies on American Indian learning styles to all American Indian students and tribal groups. Teachers should adapt their instruction to meet the unique learning styles of all students.
  2. There was a strong sense from most every teacher interviewed in this study that students do not all learn alike and that all students (American Indian and non-Indian) enjoy the kind of learning that comes from inquiry and experience. These strategies should be regarded as universal teaching practice.
  3. The ways of learning predominant in the home and community may influence the preferred ways of learning of the students at school. Culture has an impact on learning styles.
  4. Some American Indian students may be visual learners who learn best through observation
  5. Some American Indian students may need to feel competent in an activity before they will engage in it.
  6. Some American Indian students may learn best in cooperative rather than competitive environments.
  7. Some American Indian students learn best from practical and personal application and stories.
  8. Some American Indian students are holistic, creative learners. Schools have generally been linear institutions and therefore may contribute to a mismatch between a student’s preferred way of learning and a school’s way of teaching.

Organizations involved in education for Native Americans include

The White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities includes a link to a Tribal college resource center.