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 the words “I hate science” is often the result of science frustrating them. One reason why students might feel this way is that there are two types of sciences. One is “school science”, which has in many cases become a listing of facts and definitions, and the other is “real science”, which is what scientists practice. Maybe the students spend too much time on “school science” and do not make the connection between what is learned in science class and the world around them. The teacher’s job is not only to make the science material manageable for the students to learn, but it is also to show the students how science applies to everyone and everything. Using the problem-based learning approach is a great way for a teacher to combine these two sciences (Uyeda et al. 24). It is the key that a teacher uses to open the door to the minds of students who need to know how what they are learning applies to the real world.

Problem-based learning as an instructional model is associated with the new...

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Works Cited

Beamon, Glenda W. “Guiding the Inquiry of Young Adolescent Minds.” Middle School Journal. 33.3 (Jan. 2002): 19-27.

Goodnough, Karen Ph.D. “Preparing pre-service science teachers: Can problem-based learning help?” 22 April 2003. EBSCOHOST. The College of New Jersey Lib. 05 Feb. 2005.

Kim, Younghoon, et al. “Science teachers’ perspectives of web-enhanced problem-based learning environment: A qualitative inquiry.” 23 April 2003. EBSCOHOST. The College of New Jersey Lib. 05 Feb. 2005.

Problem-Based Learning. 04 March 2003. Center for Educational Technologies at Wheeling Jesuit University. 05 Feb. 2005. <>.

Uyeda, Steve, et al. “Solving Authentic Science Problems: Problem based learning connects science to the world beyond school.” Science Teacher. 69.1 (Jan. 2002): 24-29.
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