Hands-On/Minds-On Learning

Many people might say, "Gee, those sound like buzzwords to me. Do they have any substance?" The answer is yes. If children are generating their own ideas in a student-centered classroom, they need the freedom to be physically active in their search for scientific knowledge. How can children begin to understand the nature of the world in which they live if they experience it vicariously? For this reason, the majority of the activities that kids perform should be physical explorations. Physical explorations not only make the concepts more tangible but also appeal to children's diverse learning styles and take advantage of their multi-sensory strengths. If children are physically involved, they are more apt to be mentally engaged.

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Additional Resources

Haury, D., Rillero, P., "Perspectives of Hands-On science Teaching," North Central Regional Educational Laboratory web site:

Critical Issue: Providing Hands-On, Minds-On Learning Experiences in Science: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/content/cntareas/science/sc500.htm

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