How connected are learning scientific facts and learning to reason scientifically? Writing in the journal Science this week, a group of researches looking at college freshman in China and the US report that the two types of learning may not be as connected as one might think. While students in China in the study tended to be significantly better than the US students at having various scientific facts at their fingertips, the two groups were about on par when it came to their reasoning abilities.
"Our study shows that, contrary to what many people would expect, even when students are rigorously taught the facts, they don't necessarily develop the reasoning skills they need to succeed," said Lei Bao, one of the authors of the report. "Because students need both knowledge and reasoning, we need to explore teaching methods that target both." We'll talk with Bao about the work and what it reveals about science education.
Produced by Christopher Intagliata, Senior Producer