For most students, it is difficult to see the practicality of taking hours of chemistry, physics and mathematics in high school. However, studies have shown that when students are allowed to put their studies to practical use, interest in those subjects becomes higher.
Medellín’s Ruta N and the Mayor’s Office of Medellín are collaborating with Parque Explora to experiment with new learning methods that focus more upon the practical implementation of studies over theory and homework. These so called “problem-based learning schools” provide hands-on experiments using the sciences and math learned during sit down classes.
Mariana Gaviria, a student at the José María Bernal Educational Institute, is one of the students benefiting from the program. She one of the first 1900 students included in the pilot, along with 47 teachers and 15 educational institutes in Medellín. Their aim is to create a “dream school”.
Mariana created a catapult with her tenth-grade schoolmates, using formulas from her math studies. While showing off her work, she could hardly contain her enthusiasm.
“We just put eight and ninth grade physics into practice”, she said.
Early results for the program are extremely promising. Students in the program typically advance more quickly among their peers and show more enthusiasm for school.