What should science and maths education be like in 2030?

The Royal Society wants your ideas on how to improve science and maths education over the next 15-20 years.

Maybe you have ideas about how teaching, the curriculum or exams should change.

Your idea might be big or small. You might be a student, parent, teacher or anybody with good ideas. We want to collect as many suggestions as possible.

We will consider every idea as part of our project to set a vision for science and mathematics education.

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  1. Embed Maths within the curriculum of other subjects

    Students should continue studying Maths until the age of 18 but this does not mean that they should study A level Maths. At GCSE Level, a lot of students cannot see the point of Maths. When are they going to use circle theorem and algebra in their lives? It should be a requirement that there is subject specific Maths included in the curriculum of the other subjects. As literacy is embedded within all curriculum areas, numeracy skills should be too. Students will have a greater engagement if it is made relevant to their favourite subjects and they can then see…

    1 vote
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    • PFO - pass/fail only modular assessment

      Does it make sense for students (post 16 say, who are specialising) on a course to be at different levels of competence and understanding?

      If course were broken down into smallish modules, and the only awards at the end were pass or fail, with pass meaning a very strong pass, with restudying and retaking routine, rather than shameful, then students would never get left behind, and would be gurantteed competent at all modules passed. (Currently, with differential assessment, a "pass" has to be viewed as somewhat dodgy).

      Unfortunately, PFO. though highly rational and logical, is anathema to the education system…

      10 votes
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        0 comments  ·  Assessment  ·  Admin →
      • A Lab_13 in every primary school

        That is assuming there are 'primary schools' in 2030.. The latest Ofsted report argues that maintaining curiosity is key to the learning of STEM. Lab_13 is a space in primary schools managed by pupils for their own investigations, research and experiments - driven by their curiosity and the questions they bring in to the lab rather than the national curriculum. Management teams of pupils employ a Scientist in Residence (to guide experiments and avoid poisoning, fire, catastrophe etc). In 2030 understanding the scientific methodology through practical curiosity-led experiments and investigations will inspire and motivate the next generation of natural philosophers.…

        5 votes
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        • Remove all laboratories from schools for under 16s

          At the level of citizenship, science need only be approached in two ways

          1) Understanding the scientific principle and applying it rationally.
          2) A general knowledge about scientific facts

          Neither of these demand the sort of premature, pseudo-serious science study that we enforce on teenagers, and which can be so counterproductive to these aims, as well as making future specialisation unattractive.

          More serious scientific study, complete with labs and exams should wait until students are 16, and start specialising.

          Removing labs and white coats might appear to be ant-scientific, but it is paradoxical. Unfortunately, scientists are not always non-partisan rationalists…

          1 vote
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          • Biological sciences should be included, since ecological sustainability is more important than economic competitiveness for survival

            Biological sciences and applications including global warming and climate disruption should be included in curricula from primary school onwards. Ecological sustainability is more important than economic competitiveness. Urgent changes are required in lifestyles and technologies. See www.sustainocene.com.

            1 vote
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            • The "National Curriculum" is divided into subjects, with apparently very little connection.

              This is most apparent to me at the Maths/Computing boundary, which almost certainly occurs elsewhere. While one can argue for this at A-levels, to support choice, at KS3 and below, it is confusing to both teachers and pupils. What is described as the "National Curriculum" looks like a pre-edited draft of a multi-author book.

              2 votes
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                0 comments  ·  Curriculum  ·  Admin →
              • Making Macroeconomics an Exact Science

                Today macroeconomics is treated as inexact, because at a first look it appears to be very complex. But if we take aggregates of all the various activities (no matter who or what performs them) and then idealize them so that each kind is of only one size, we find that to cover the whole social system of a country (excluding foreign trade) it takes only 19 mutual flows of money verses goods, services, valuable documents etc. These double flows pass between only 6 kinds of role-playing entities.

                This model has not been properly presented in the past. The simpler versions…

                1 vote
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                  1 comment  ·  Technology  ·  Admin →
                • The committee should take time to deeply understand how Web2.0 based assessment strategies can help them achieve their aims.

                  The committee should take time to deeply understand how Web2.0 based assessment strategies can help them achieve their aims.

                  This is an area I have researched and have a national level of expertise on and I am happy to help them if they are interested.

                  1 vote
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                    0 comments  ·  Assessment  ·  Admin →
                  • Recognise and reward the relationship between great teachers and real scholarship.

                    The little international research there is on what constitutes excellence in subject specialist teaching at secondary level, all agrees that a teachers' passion for their subject is critical. Teaching at this level is not a generic exercise and those few "teaching" skills that cross subject boundaries have minimal impact on how a child responds to the subject taught. In sharp contrast, the depth of knowledge, passion and even love for the subject that a teacher exhibits, has a huge impact on the child. Teacher training should reward and stress subject scholarship instead of wasting time on superficial, pedagogical skills development.

                    4 votes
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                    • I have developed a website of 15 000 pages of Maths & Science materials for FREE. We have 2 000 downloads per day!

                      In general, Maths & Science teaching & learning, is rather poor - throughout the world.

                      If Maths & Science teachers & learners had access to top-class materials and methodology for use in both the classroom and at home at all times, teaching and learning would become a lot more enjoyable, effective & efficient.

                      This website should be used together with a learner book for the students - one that may be downloaded from the website.

                      Our website provides the Maths & Science Curriculum for the South African Curriculum in 15 000 pages and links. There are also worksheets, tests, exams,…

                      1 vote
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                        0 comments  ·  Curriculum  ·  Admin →
                      • Make links between school science and mathematics

                        100 years ago there were serious proposals for cross-linking school science and maths. A century later, nothing has happened. Secondary mathematics textbooks teach algebra [or try to] with no reference whatsoever to the sciences, while secondary science courses, their textbooks and their examinations have been dumbed down over several decades by getting rid of the mathematics almost entirely. Go back to the physics textbooks of 30 or 40 years ago, and see the difference!

                        4 votes
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                        • Curriculum and Teachers

                          It is necessary to ensure that at GCSE (or its equivalent) pupils have the ability to solve quantitative problems, rather than merely giving qualitative answers. This can then be built upon at A-level (or its equivalent).
                          Also, specialist teachers need to be appreciated and allowed the freedom to develop their own subject teaching skills rather than to be lumped together as an amorphous 'science' department.

                          2 votes
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                          • High stakes testing *must* be reformed before systemic change can occur

                            The UK currently has a vast wealth of talented, passionate and dedicated teachers. The majority of them understand what good learning looks like, and have a range of innovative teaching strategies at their fingertips.

                            However, the gravity of current pressures to 'get better results' means that teachers are faced with little choice but to 'teach to the test'. Only when the nature of those tests change will teachers feel they have permission to teach in profoundly better ways.

                            23 votes
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                              5 comments  ·  Assessment  ·  Admin →
                            • Widespread practice and understanding of mathematics needs to better reflect existing research.

                              Many academics, researchers, teachers, groups and organisations have been working tirelessly for years to develop mathematics teaching. They have produced thorough evidence that supports a pedagogical change towards encouraging 'mathematical thinking'. Despite this, public understanding and widespread school practice still lags behind, based on little other evidence than 'the way we have always done it'. The most important development for the next 10 - 15 years should be addressing that reality and putting the results of existing research in to practice.

                              12 votes
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                              • Lesson planning must become a large scale collaborative activity

                                Currently, the majority of teachers plan their lessons in isolation. This represents tens of thousands of hours of thinking and effort that DO NOT BUILD UPON EACH OTHER. This situation is economically and pedagogically insane.

                                We need to exploit the affordances of digital technologies to foster large scale social lesson planning practices. In addition we need to harness Big Data to allow teachers to make more evidence-informed decisions about their practice.

                                Just imagine sitting down to plan a lesson and instead of starting with a blank slate (or last year's effort) you begin with a plan that has already been…

                                14 votes
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                                  4 comments  ·  Technology  ·  Admin →
                                • Clarify for teachers the blend between knowledge and skills they need and should teach

                                  Science and maths teachers require a certain blend of knowledge and skills in order to teach the subjects to their students. Do we know what the right blend is? Should science teachers focus on practical skills at the expense of detailed knowledge of theories? Should maths teachers focus on algebraic expressions at the expense of applying maths to the real world? How secure should they be themselves in order to be able to do this with their students? Answers to these questions will help provide a key strand to the overall vision.

                                  2 votes
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                                  • Super hero teaching

                                    This is whats worked for me in the past 5 years. What we have done with children is take a superhero for example Ironman and show them how what they see can be shown in science. What we do is get there interest and then teach them about the science and engineering within the character. What we have found is kids need to be excited about what they are learning, they need to feel that the topic they are learning is a useful one.

                                    1 vote
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                                      0 comments  ·  Curriculum  ·  Admin →
                                    • Why keep thinking about 'science' and 'math' as being discreet and separate?

                                      Education should mirror, if not advance, how industry and academia think about the problems of today and tomorrow. We no longer operate in a world of issues or problems that fit neatly into discreet topics. The issues civilization face today require interdisciplinary thinking, collaboration across knowledge domains and application of skills and experiences beyond specific job categories.
                                      Why should students continue to learn based on an industrial model of education when they will be functioning in a completely different way when they leave school?

                                      9 votes
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                                      • Science Literacy

                                        The story of Science is so mesmerising that to appreciate its innate beauty one has to be scientifically literate. What I mean by this is that for one to understand and appreciate a poem by William Shakespeare, say, one has to be well versed in English; one has to be literate in that language. The same reasoning applies to Science. Like poetry, Science is not just an intellectual activity but a deeply emotional one, too. An activity that touches the core of our being; one that titillates our sense of aesthetics; one that quenches our thirst for knowledge. And if…

                                        3 votes
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                                          1 comment  ·  Curriculum  ·  Admin →
                                        • In 2030,science and mathematics should

                                          In 2030,science and maths should not be made compulsory for sake of career or something else.Rather the elementary education about the subject should be given to age of 11 or 12 years.Then they should be judged whether they want to actually study it or not.And those who want to study i,should be taught the practical Maths and Science.And theory should be reduced as possible.Then the hidden facts of our surroundings can be known and research would be given a boost

                                          11 votes
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                                          What should science and maths education be like in 2030?

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