Why we must teach students to solve big problems

The future of education and work will rely on teaching students deeper problem-solving skills.

  • Asking kids 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' is a question that used to make sense, says Jaime Casap. But it not longer does; the nature of automation and artificial intelligence means future jobs are likely to shift and reform many times over.
  • Instead, educators should foster a culture of problem solving. Ask children: What problem do you want to solve? And what talents or passions do you have that can be the avenues by which you solve it?
  • "[T]he future of education starts on Monday and then Tuesday and then Wednesday and it's constant and consistent and it's always growing, always improving, and if we create that culture I think that would bring us a long way," Casap says.
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Six-month-olds recognize (and like) when they’re being imitated

A new study may help us better understand how children build social cognition through caregiver interaction.

  • Scientists speculate imitation helps develop social cognition in babies.
  • A new study out of Lund University shows that six-month-olds look and smile more at imitating adults.
  • Researchers hope the data will spur future studies to discover what role caregiver imitation plays in social cognition development.
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    Hyper-innovation: COVID-19 will forever change the way we teach kids

    The institutional barriers that have often held creative teaching back are being knocked down by the coronavirus era.

    • Long-held structures in the education system, like classroom confines and schedules, have held back innovation for a long time, says education leader Richard Culatta.
    • In the coronavirus era, we have been able to shake some of those rigid structures loose, making way for creativity and, ultimately, a more open mindset.
    • When creativity and technology combine, learning can become so much more than delivering content to a student. Culatta gives two stunning examples: one of a biotech class, and another involving a student discovering a star.
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    Chemistry for kids: Make a DIY bubble snake!

    A fun and completely safe experiment for the family to try during quarantine.

    • Most of us are staying home to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, but that doesn't mean there isn't learning and fun to be had.
    • It's important to take a break from screen time. Kate the Chemist, professor, science entertainer, and author of "The Big Book of Experiments," has just the activity: Creating a bubble snake using common household ingredients including dish soap, food coloring, rubber bands, a towel, and a small plastic bottle.
    • In this step-by-step tutorial, Kate walks us through the simple process of building the apparatus and combining materials to bring the fun snakes to life.

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    Dogs go through an angsty teenage phase too

    Pups in puberty prefer not to listen to their owners.

    Photo Credit: Matthew Foulds
    • In a recent study based in the U.K., dogs took longer to respond to a command to 'sit' by their owners during adolescence.
    • Female dogs who had insecure attachments to their caregivers where more likely to reach puberty prematurely, a similarity that has been found in human girls in some studies.
    • Many dogs are taken to shelters to be moved to a new home during puberty, making adolescence a vulnerable time in a pup's life.
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