Boys’ natural curiosity leads them to ask, “How does this work?”
The passion for answers to that question begins with mixing chemicals for a plaster of paris volcano and catching frogs, but it moves over time toward periodic tables and dissection. Today’s globally interdependent, scientifically-driven world requires a level of scientific literacy significantly more advanced than periodic tables and dissection, however. From atmospheric warming challenges to newly-discovered, genetically-based medical advances, the increasingly complex issues demand the study of not only the scientific facts and processes of each discrete area of biology, chemistry, and physics, but also of the connections to real life applications and scenarios.
Once boys have the necessary foundations in scientific vocabulary, questioning, research, and analysis, they engage in using these skills to address questions at the heart of today’s world dilemmas, such as: How do we develop low-cost, highly effective drugs to combat the social destruction caused by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa? What are the possible ecosystem harms from the move to genetically modified corn and soybeans in the nation’s food supply?
Real world relevance of the material, authentic application of data and skills, and active engagement are all cornerstones of each science course. Though the exact progression through the courses may be different for each student, the end goal is the same: to not only understand and function in today’s world but to be motivated to engage and improve it.
M.S., Vanderbilt University