Sunday, May 29, 2011

From the No Surprise Here files

A study in the UK confirms what a lot of parents have known for years:  Taking your kids to the zoo is more effective at teaching them about the environment and conservation than having them sit in a classroom and learn the same material.

Guys, if you have to have a study to figure this kind of thing out, hang it up.  It should surprise no-one that kids respond better to hands-on, entertaining experiences with a dash of education thrown in than they do to textbooks and overhead slides.  Anyone who's ever taken a 6 year old to see the gorillas and read the placards about how fragile their natural habitat is and how few of the animals there are in the wild knows how interested the little tykes are about their hairy cousins after that.  Heck, our kids could recite obscure facts about the flamingo, the emu, and the polar bear before they could say their ABC's.

Kids learn best through play.  That's why I always make it fun when I take Girlie Bear to the range, or work on ABC's and 1 2 3's with Boo by playing with blocks or coloring books.  Heck, I even knew this when I taught in the military.  I always spent the minimum necessary time going through the dry lecture material so that we could get to simulations where students learned and then applied the knowledge that they had heard in lectures.

Someday I'm going to ditch the day job and just start writing applications for grants so I can study the phenomenon of meat becoming inedible if left out in the sun, or that if left to its own devices, the chlorophyllic organisms in the American lawn will gain in height.

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