Engaging pupils in science with co-operative learning

Co-operative learning can actively engage pupils in school science, stimulating curiosity and improving attitudes and motivation. Allen Thurston discusses the roles teachers and pupils can play to maximise its potential

THE INCREASING NEED for a scientifically literate public has coincided with fewer adolescents pursuing science in school. Society faces major issues such as climate change and ethical debates on stem-cell research. Politicians must seek to engage the public, and therefore it is more important than ever that schools enable pupils to become scientifically literate. Only through this process can they participate meaningfully in these debates.

What we know
● Co-operative learning in science can promote science achievement.
● Co-operative learning in science works best in mixed groups of between four and six pupils.
● Pupils who learn science through co-operative learning in elementary school become more engaged with science in high school.

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June 2010