Engaging students in science with cooperative learning

Cooperative learning can actively engage students in school science, stimulating curiosity and improving attitudes and motivation. Allen Thurston discusses the roles teachers and students can play to maximize 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 students to become scientifically literate. Only through this process can they participate meaningfully in these debates.

What we know
● Cooperative learning in science can promote science achievement.
● Cooperative learning in science works best in mixed groups of between four and six students.
● Students who learn science through cooperative learning in elementary school become more engaged with science in high school.

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June 2010