The Best Science Classrooms Aren't Classrooms

My son just came back from a full week of science. He was in a really cool hands-on STEM camp (closer to STEAM or maybe even SHTEAM). He was in a classroom that didn't feel like a classroom. In his off time, he helped take care of the neighbor's horses, ran around the farm and went hiking with his grandpa all around Colorado.

I am often amazed by the science of summer and the spaces outside of classrooms. It's a time of inquiry, observation, hypothesis-making, tweaking  data collection through one's own eyes and fuzzy conclusions that often lead to more questions. It happens without ActivBoards or anchor charts or objectives on a wall.

This isn't a slam on science classrooms and certainly not science teachers. Some of my favorite bloggers are science teachers who somehow manage to bring that world from the outside into the classroom and find ways to get the students out of the classroom and into the world.
John Spencer

Professor. Maker. Speaker.
I want to see schools unleash the creative potential in all teachers to transform classrooms into bastions of creativity and wonder. Read more →
Email me at john@educationrethink.com for speaking inquiries on design thinking and creativity.


  1. Exactly, Michael. I was thinking about how glad I am that the world has you and Sean Nash and Michael Bennett, who all manage to get kids into the world.

  2. I'm sure these science teachers would much rather be teaching science out in the field, rather than the very sterile environment of the classroom.

  3. I agree. Those science teachers would probably love teaching field-based classes.

  4. Hands-on learning always sticks more than reading from a book. I just returned from a trip from Yellowstone where science lives everywhere. Its too bad that our education system is so focused on the classroom, worksheets and packets. Learning must live.


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