Video & Film

The right way to communicate science to young learners

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A compelling TED talk by Tyler DeWitt, a science teacher who believes that teaching science to middle school children needs to be guided by values that are different, and often contradictory to those endorsed generally by the field. In this 11-minute talk filmed in November 2012, DeWitt calls for a greater focus on helping students connect emotionally to science by making it interesting to them, and that using less formal language that may be less accurate is more meaningful and accessible to young learners. He recognizes that accuracy and precision are highly valued in science, and proposes that its this “tyranny of precision” that produces the kinds of textbooks and teaching that leads to young learners disconnecting from science.

In the beginning of this talk is an entertaining presentation where he demonstrates using storytelling and stick drawings to explain different ways viruses infect bacterium (drawing from the genres of horror stories and spy movies). He has also created a series of online videos that explain science topics in simple ways that are accessible to middle schoolchildren.