How can you get young people interested in science and mathematics? What efforts are there to integrate the experiences of middle school students into the things they need to do and learn in school? How can action sports, like skateboarding and bicycle motocross BMX, be used to teach physics, algebra, data collection, and help students to grow in their engagement and motivation in science and mathematics? The answer lies in part to an approach I have termed as Action Science.
Action science is an example of the use of transformative educational strategies to enhance the study of science for K-16 students. The term “action science” can be defined as the use of familiar objects, circumstances and situations within the lives of students in order to explain specific concepts in science built around student interests, including action sports like skateboarding and bicycle motocross (BMX).
In schools, the approach to these topics is also done in very traditional manners that employ content delivery mechanisms that are often not put in relevant terms for the K-16 learner.
Dr. Skateboard’s Action Science is a video curriculum that maps to the standards in physical science in which middle grade students need to be engaged. The curriculum materials are organized around four main focus areas in physical science: forces, motion, simple machines and Newton’s Laws of Motion. This science education curriculum has been used in classrooms in over 100 middle schools in the El Paso metropolitan area, and has been used across the United States, in Canada, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and throughout the world via Dr. Skateboard’s YouTube Channel.
Action Science emphasizes the importance of an active environment for learning that integrates oral, visual, and kinesthetic strategies by the teacher that allows for learning to be student-centered.
In this approach, teachers become change agents, linking the relevant life experiences of the students to the content of the curriculum, and in no area is this more needed than in middle school science.
The teacher must establish connections within the learning communities, and engage their students in active learning projects that require them to interact with individuals inside and outside the school.
For the constructivist science teacher, learning needs to be extended into the fabric of student’s lives, not solely as a subject to be explored uniquely in a classroom.
Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning was written as a resource for teachers to integrate practical learning opportunities linked to skateboarding and BMX in order to bring physics to life. This book looks to provide solutions for dilemmas educators face in teaching physical science concepts in a relevant context for the modern learner.
The main idea is to place the content in an interesting format with action sports as the focus, and this, combined with the use of constructivism, presents a fun way to energize the classroom.
The book helps the teacher to connect important science applications through the use of hands-on activities and engaging video and graphical content. Teachers need to utilize technology in teaching and learning, and this book is designed as a crossover text that integrates video and high quality images, as well as demonstrates an interactive strategy of content immersion for students. The book is not a workbook or a series of activities in and of itself; it is a professional development resource for teachers, which utilizes a constructivist approach that can be integrated into the classroom pragmatically.
Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning is now available from Corwin Publishing. It targets Middle School science teachers looking to teach physical science content through the methodology of constructivism.
It also contains links to great BMX and skateboarding photos, videos accessed by QR codes and 8 activities to do in the classroom, in addition to the framework for teaching and learning. It is also available for sale through Amazon.com, Corwin.com and eBooks.com.