Getting Science Education Down To A...ScienceSource:
By Lori Clapper, Editor
"I started my undergrad as a chemistry major but was pushed out by the ‘math and science death march' lectures," my high school friend lamented on her Facebook page, after reading a NPR blog about the challenges of science education ("Science: It's Really, Really Hard, And That's Something To Celebrate" by Adam Frank, February 2012). She loved science and was drawn to it because she enjoyed the hands-on lab experiments in her high-school chemistry class, but she admits her decision to be a science major didn't even last through her freshman year of college.
My friend is not alone. Some 40% of engineering and science majors either switch subjects or never earn a degree – and that number increases to 60% if you count medical students, according to recent studies. It seems, as in my friend's experience, that middle school and high school kids get to have all the fun, creating lemon clocks and building erector sets. Freshman science majors, on the other hand, get to sit in huge lecture halls with hundreds of other students, listening to long discourses on physics or calculus. Their grades tend to be much lower, as well. It's little wonder they jump ship, lured away by the appeal of better grades in other "more interesting" majors. The issue of science education frequently comes up in my discussions with life sciences industry members – from engineers and researchers to big pharma VPs. I'm also married to a science teacher, so this topic regularly infiltrates my family's dinner table conversations.
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