Essay about A Problem-Based Approach to Teaching about Pollution

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A Problem-Based Approach to Teaching about Pollution

Science is a very important subject for students to study in middle school. It is “More than a body of knowledge or a set of answers, science is a way of thinking about the world” (Beamon 20). Science forces students to think critically about ethical issues, such as pollution. This is often difficult for students because they must make the jump from the narrow parameters of their own lives to the issues that affect many people living on this planet. In studying pollution, students must come to realize that even throwing garbage on the ground and not recycling will in some way affect many of the living things in the ecosystem.

The feeling commonly described by students by
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According to Howard Barrows, a neuroscientist and one of the founders of PBL, the authenticity of the problem maximizes student motivation. Thus, PBL motivates students so they can learn by working through a problem. Traditionally, teachers were more focused on teaching the facts and then presenting the problems associated with those facts (Uyeda et al. 25). However, “Disciplined inquiry is not about memorizing information; it is about helping young adolescents make meaningful connections to the ‘big idea’ of the disciplines and their own personal beliefs, conceptions, and experiences” (Beamon 19). An effective science teacher puts the students’ minds in the middle of real problems. He or she challenges his or her students to use the knowledge that they already have and combine it with research to come up with solutions. A middle school student must learn about pollution, but how they learn about it will likely dictate how long the acquired knowledge stays in their memory. If a teacher presents the problems associated with pollution and then the solutions associated with it, the students will likely forget much of what is taught. A terrific way to get students to retain more of what they learn about pollution is to use a problem-based learning approach.

The method of choice for
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