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Sunday, May 03, 2015

Learning by doing helps students perform better in science

Jann Ingmire, News Officer for Social Sciences and the School of Social Service Administration News Office, University Communications reports, "Students who physically experience scientific concepts understand them more deeply and score better on science tests, according to a new UChicago-led study."

Illustration by Prof. Sian Beilock et al.
Brain scans showed that students who took a hands-on approach to learning had activation in sensory and motor-related parts of the brain when they later thought about concepts such as angular momentum and torque. Activation of these brain areas was associated with better quiz performance by college physics students who participated in the research.

The study, published online April 24 in Psychological Science, comes from the Department of Psychology’s Human Performance Lab, directed by Prof. Sian Beilock, an internationally known expert on the mind–body connection and author of the book How the Body Knows Its Mind.

Using Bodies and Brains to Learn Science 

Beilock and her co-authors, Prof. Susan Fischer at DePaul University, UChicago graduate student Carly Kontra and postdoctoral scholar Dan Lyons, explain that hands-on experiences may benefit students more than previously realized, particularly in the world of virtual laboratories and online learning, This may be especially true for the initial stages of learning and in areas of science education that lend themselves to physical experiences.

“This gives new meaning to the idea of learning,” said Beilock. “When we’re thinking about math or physics, getting students to actually physically experience some of the concepts they’re learning about changes how they process the information, which could lead to better performance on a test.”
Read more... 

Source: UChicago News and The University of Chicago Channel (YouTube)

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