Robert Kowal ’69, a science teacher in the state of Washington for more than 26 years, was doing something right. During a time when only 36% of students passed the state science examination, Kowal’s students had a pass rate of 76%. He has compiled the many lessons, experiments, and instructional strategies behind his efficacy in the book “Simplification of Science.”
The book is more than a collection of science activities. Via a series of inquiries using materials found in the classroom or home – rubber bands, plastic bottles, marbles, balloons, pencils, baking soda, string – and quizzes on life, physical, earth and space science, “Simplification of Science” attempts to teach young students not just scientific lessons but also accurate methods of scientific exploration.
“These are the proper procedures that students need for advanced science courses through college level, yet they are presented in a simple format that teaches young students the correct way to conduct a science inquiry,” says Kowal.
According to Kowal, science instruction is often overcomplicated and time consuming. Many science books teach concepts but offer little or no hands-on reinforcement, while others fail to address national-standards-based procedures for inquiry.
He says his goals for writing the book were fourfold: reduce the prep time for science inquiry and increase hands-on teaching; simplify the teaching process for teachers with little science background; reduce the time to correct an assignment; and most importantly, engage students with motivating, fun, hands-on scientific processes.
Now retired, Kowal envisions that the book will impart the same passion to a new generation of learners. “My hope for it is that by teaching younger students the proper science procedures and have them enjoy the excitement of seeing whether their prediction turned out to be true or false, they will begin to love science, and continue to explore the subject as they grow older.”
Approved by the Washington State Office of Public Instruction, “Simplification of Science” is available in print on Amazon.com. An electronic copy of the book can be procured by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.