Thursday, September 3, 2015

Can playing games increase elementary science scores?

     The education system in the U.S. is becoming a hot topic of discussion between politicians, administrators, teachers, and parents alike.  There is a need to deliver educational material in a fun way that allows students to retain the information. There is one program that seems to be proving just how possible that is. The Science Bootcamp program is paving new roads in the implementation of fun, education, and retention in science.  

     According to teachers and administrators across the State of Florida, Science Bootcamp, a series of curriculum-based science games, are dramatically improving science scores in their elementary school classrooms and on state standardized tests. According to one science teacher at Coral Reef Montessori in Cutler, Fl, "...the thing we find most extraordinary about Science Bootcamp is the layering of instruction... the program reaches the student by utilizing every angle so that no matter what the students's level or learning style, they end up not only learning science, but having fun with it too.." 

     Essentially, students are playing games and learning science simultaneously. One of the Bootcamp games, "Speed Bag", uses simple illustrations of science concepts, like photosynthesis, which the students compete with one another to see who can draw the science concept in 30 seconds or less. Science Bootcamp developers call this part of the game "building the frame of reference". By combining the frame of reference, built through repeated quick drawing of the concept, along with content constructed multiple choice questions and a written explanation tool, the students learn the concepts and retain it longer because they had fun doing it. 

     The Science Bootcamp Games are fast becoming recognized as the most effective way to increase elementary science aptitude. Just ask schools like Phyliss R. Miller in Miami Shores, which nearly tripled science test scores from 17% to 43% in its first year of using the Bootcamp games. Other schools like Henry S. Reeves Elementary, Three Points Elementary (Orlando,FL), and Poicianna Park Elementary (Miami) are just a few of the schools that are witnessing phenomenal results in science aptitude as a result of utilizing the Science Bootcamp Games. 

     Given the latest news that U.S. students rank 23 in science proficiency, the growing consensus is that our conventional (traditional) teaching methods are simply not working, and that America's educational system needs to find new and innovative ways to improve our classroom approach. Science Bootcamp is proving to be a step in that direction.