The value of Science Classes in High School

Students who do not like taking science classes often ask, “What’s the point of studying this when I know my future doesn’t require it?” However, what these students don’t realize is that these classes are not valuable because of the subjects that they teach, but rather the concepts that are present in the study of those subjects.

Before we consider what value science classes offer, it is imperative that we question how scientific disciplines are different from other disciplines. Let us compare, for example, “liberal arts” disciplines with scientific ones. Humanities is a liberal arts discipline. What this discipline teaches is how to communicate effectively. Communication, of course, is done through written or graphic work, but the importance is in the conveyance of ideas. On the other hand, scientific disciplines like physics do not depend entirely upon the effectiveness of communication. Rather, they emphasize systematic approaches to questions in finding solutions. One example is the scientific method.

Science classes teach how to reason using observations from experiences or from experiments. Some people view this way of thinking as very robotic and mechanical, but the fact of the matter is that this way of thinking produces systematic results.

One critique that many students from scientific disciplines make about liberal arts disciplines like Humanities is that these disciplines teach students how to make up information. So, for example, an English student can interpret a text differently from his fellow English student. But, on the other hand, science students cannot interpret an experiment differently. They can express what they have learned differently (or what the value of the experience was) but they cannot dispute facts.

People think, generally, in two ways: rationally and creatively. People use their creative thinking usually for pleasure. For instance, they write novels or stories or poems, or they draw or paint pictures. But people also use their rational thinking on a daily basis. This is the type of thinking that science classes strive to teach and uphold. It is not about Newton’s law of gravity, per se, but more about how Newton got to thinking about the gravity.

So if you are questioning the value of science classes, think again. Though they teach subjects that may seem mechanical, systematic, and sometimes boring, think more about how these subjects are approached. What you learn is not necessarily what you should take away from your educational career, but how you learn.