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Science Education in Developing Effective Problem Solvers and Good Character

by Deborah McCallum

Effective Problem solving is a skill that can help our students survive and thrive, both in and out of school. It is important to help our students become effective problem solvers, both academically and socially, and the Science Curriculum is an excellent place to start!

In our world, students need to learn to be effective problem solvers, both academically, and socially. Being an effective problem solver means that students are able to complete their work effectively with others, for others, and through others. Students may not always get their work completed correctly, nor demonstrate good character all the time, but effective problem solvers are better able to recognize what may have caused those errors and what they can improve upon for the future.

The Science Curriculum is a great tool to embed problem solving skills and Character Education. Every day, scientists are collaborating to develop new technologies and medicines, in addition to improving the ways we live in society. Therefore, an effective Science education is necessary to prepare students not just for higher education and better jobs, but also to teach them to effectively relate to the world, and with others in the world.

There are many positive aspects of providing our students with an effective Science education. For instance, Science can be integrated with all other subjects, including First Nations, Metis, & Inuit perspectives, and Character Education, making it perfect for developing the ‘whole’ student. It also thrives when taught with Inquiry Based instructional techniques that help students to relate to others in and around the world. Further, Explicit Instructional techniques also help students to make concrete connections between scientific connections and how we can demonstrate good Character with others. An effective Scientific education also teaches students to respect individual learning styles, and to work cooperatively and collaboratively with others.

Implementing the Science Curriculum truly has the ability to help students learn about the direct world around us. One day, all students will be leaving the school system, and entering a world where there will be many new jobs, products, and technologies that simply do not exist today. No other subject is better able to prepare students to ‘think’ scientifically, exhibit good character, and also activate the inquiry and learning skills necessary for engaging in effective problem solving. The possibilities for educators to help students relate scientific principles to what is already considered important to students can truly motivate both present and future learning experiences.

It is essential for educators to get to know students and the learning community they are creating, because it is the very things that students are struggling with that enables educators to know how far to ‘push’ students in their learning. Continually asking questions and engaging in the Inquiry process in terms of the specific curriculum, and helping the students to reflect upon their interests and strengths can help educators to effectively tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of the students. This in turn will help students to develop effective problem solving skills and good Character.

I believe that implementing the Science Curriculum in effective ways, truly does have the ability to infuse problem solving skills and Character Development in our students!

How have you used Scientific Inquiry to engage students and help them to be effective problem solvers?

Does your current delivery of the Science curriculum, reach, engage and inspire the learners in your classroom?


Deborah McCallum is an Educator and a Writer. She writes both Fiction, & Non-Fiction including Curriculum, Psychology of Learning, and of how we can incorporate First Nations, Metis, & Inuit perspectives in education. With Graduate Studies in Counselling Psychology, and over 12 years of Teaching and Librarianship experience, Deborah has developed in-depth expertise and knowledge into important issues surrounding Education in the 21st Century. Visit Deborah’s blog




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  • Jim McHardy

    This is a very positive article that stresses the importance of understanding science as opposed to simply ‘using’ science, i.e. computers, cell phones. To truly begin to understand the world, people need to be able to think critically, communicate effectively and begin to get a handle on what makes things work and attempt to grasp the meanings in nature. I agree that science study is a great portal to reality.

    • Janet Lee

      Thanks for the inspiring blog, Deborah! Approaching the Science classroom as a portal to reality makes us learners along with our students. Once we identify our students’ prior knowledge we can formulate better questions for the inquiry process. Introducing this state of mind will create collaborators in the Science classroom and once students experience this type of learning environment, they will be able to transfer these skills to future situations. Love it!

      • Deborah

        Hi Janet,
        I really appreciate the idea of asking the students questions to ‘activate prior knowledge’, what super way to learn about the ‘Whole Student’, and to help students understand what questions they need to ask to further their learning. An excellent way to ensure that the ‘gaps’ in knowledge are filled as well, and to teach students that they matter too!

        Thanks so much for your comment!

    • Deborah

      Thanks very much Jim! I love your statement that ‘Science study is a great portal to reality’, so true!
      Thanks very much for your feedback, much appreciated :)