How to Educate More Creative Problem-Solvers

Merck on science education in HBR

We must inspire students to find value in pursuing a career in science. K-12 science education has traditionally focused on memorizing discrete facts rather than understanding larger concepts and how they are connected to one another to create the exciting “big ideas.” Likewise, laboratory experiences have focused on following stepwise procedures (like scientific methods) rather than emphasizing on how to organize mass amounts of information in a clear construct to solve complex science problems. The process-driven approach currently relied on in schools can lead to excessive focus on one aspect of science. Integrative thinking, on the other hand, reveals how various questions intersect, helps students understand the broader picture, and prepares them to address larger challenges.

Strong science teaching supports learning in all subjects, since science provides a foundation for the development of language, logic, and problem-solving skills. Science instruction that mirrors the way scientists do their work also motivates students to pursue science as a career.

How to Educate More Creative Problem-Solvers

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