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Adapting to A Changing World of Work

Education of children serves a number of purposes, one of which is to prepare them for jobs in the economy they will experience as they grow older.  That economy is always in flux, and today is changing in a way that reminds me of the way acceleration compares to speed.  It’s not a constant figure like 30 miles per hour, but a change in the rate of speed. For a driver is going 30 miles per hour, the rate of acceleration will determine how long it how long it will take to reach, say, 40 miles per hour (or the rate of deceleration to reach, say, 20 miles per hour). So instead of preparing a  child for a work world that will change at the same pace for the duration of a career, education must prepare them for jobs that that will change at an ever faster pace. This requires a skill set that differs from that of the past and includes teamwork, creativity, and communication. Science experiments are well-suited to help develop these skills. This can be accomplished by breaking students into groups (typically of 4 to 6). providing them with experiment materials, giving them an objective (for example, build the tallest structure), and guide them in working as a team to share and pursue ideas. Students should be encouraged to explain  their experiences and what they learned from the experiment. If time allows, I find it helpful to follow up this exploratory task with a more prescriptive task, for example, how to build a truss to handle more stress from a load. This brings in learning of engineering principles to supplement the skills of teamwork, creativity and communication.

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