During the schooling years, science curriculum is not as demanding on analytical or critical thinking as it is on observational skills. Primary school students are introduced to the most basic aspects of science topics  through observation of the world around them and general readings. In secondary school, students may begin studying in greater depth, but serious examination of science begins only post high school. Valuable foundational years , where thinking habits are formed,  are lost by then. It thus becomes important to supplement the concept learning with application oriented learning.

The objective of learning the concepts for Global Hands On Minds On Competition is to make a model work. No working model ever works on just one principle, it is always a confluence of many concepts– all working together in unison.. It naturally requires one to examine manipulate and match various concepts on common grounds to achieve a defined purpose. This makes a soft but compelling demand on students high order thinking faculties. High Order Thinking thus comes to students in a natural way.

Design Thinking

While building their models for competition, STUDENTS need to employ  critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, decision making skills. They need reflective thinking ability — an ability to go back a few steps and rethink , review, revise or  rectify their prototype if they have any problems. They follow Design Thinking approach. A sound foundation in design thinking will empower the student for the ‘different ‘ tomorrow as today’s skills will fast be outdated with new technologies pouring in. Hence it is vital to impart S.T.E.M. skills for students to be able to adapt to any tools or environment of the future.

Beyond Robotics

A lot of discussions on innovative educational methods center around S.T.E.M. approach  and its benefits. S.T.E.M. can easily become a cliché if this is not understood well. Among host of topics, S.T.E.M. is often loosely  equated with robotics, but it must be understood that S.T.E.M. is not just about ‘robotics’ or ‘3D printing’ but much more than that.  Integration of S.T.E.M. involves problem solving , high order thinking, creative thinking as well as having an “engineering” or “maker’s mind-set”. Practicing stem integration in learning promotes high order thinking and also results in deep understanding of topic. S.T.E.M. approach  should therefore take up the center stage in teaching.