Science & Technology

Scientific literacy prepares youth for future

By Nadine Smith
Pasadena Academy
Pasadena, Newfoundland

 As science is more important to the human race today than ever before, it is important that our country monitor the scientific achievements and abilities of its students, in order to keep up with the rest of the fast-paced world. Learning is not only fun, but an understanding of science is important for any career in today's technology-crazed society, and will continue to be so, as long as mankind's knowledge of science continues to prosper.

Science has an enormous influence on our lives. It provides the basis of much of modern technology, the tools, materials, techniques and sources of power that make our lives and work easier. If science had never been developed, the world as we know it would be very different. Today, we can watch live events in the comfort of our living room, speak to a friend anywhere in the world, and send a letter to the opposite side of the earth in a matter of seconds. Every day doctors save lives and are able to treat and cure once life threatening diseases, with the use of new, sophisticated equipment, procedures and drugs. Man has walked on the moon, and robots have searched the surface of Mars. The discoveries of scientists help to shape our views about ourselves and our universe. From the Egyptian's discovery of bronze, to today's altering of an organism's genetic makeup, the evolution of science is an ongoing phenomenon.

The scientific process is faster today than ever before, affected not only by many discoveries made each year, but also by the thousands of scientists involved in research and the vast sums of money spent on scientific work. As the number of scientists continues to increase, the cooperation and communication between them is growing increasingly important. We live in an age of knowledge explosion, and it is virtually impossible to know all scientific theories or technologies.

However, as the importance of scientific literacy for all citizens has become increasingly clear, it is important for Canada to monitor students' scientific abilities so teachers can work to improve any areas of weakness. The students of today will become the scientists of tomorrow, and it is therefore necessary that these students have a good understanding of modern sciences and technologies, so that Canada will prosper among the other developed countries of the world, and not be left behind. Furthermore, science has become a conventional language, understood by the world. Nevertheless, one must be taught to properly speak it, not only to understand, but to convey the message to future generations. By knowing how well its students are doing in science, Canada is able to ensure a future of prosperity.

Today, people of every age and status are offered opportunities for life-long learning, and entertainment based on an exploration of our physical and technological world. The world of science has become more inviting, and friendly and less obscure and distant, drawing minds, particularly young minds, into science.

It can be enjoyed by watching television shows, reading magazines, joining science clubs, visiting zoos, natural history museums, and science centers. Learning about how our bodies function, how things work and interact with each other, and why things happen the way they do is greatly enjoyable. Piquing our curiosity, science answers many questions, and quite often poses many more, as our never-ending search for knowledge continues. From experiments in the lab, to research papers, to reading and even class work, science has become a truly enjoyable part of today's society.

As new discoveries continue to be made each day, repeated observations and experiments lead scientists to revise existing theories and propose new ideas. Even recent scientific theories will eventually become outdated and will be replaced with newer theories that explain more facts.

From the dawn of mankind, scientific knowledge has always been growing and improving. Much of what separates our modern way of life from that of our cave-dwelling forebears is the product of science, and its sister field, technology. Every career available today, in Canada and beyond, requires some scientific knowledge. And more often than not, a minimum of highschool training is not nearly enough. Even farming, for example, has become very complex, and agricultural outputs have soared, as scientists have developed better varieties of plants and more effective fertilizers. With each passing day, and numerous discoveries, mastery of new developments is of vital importance to all members of today's undeniably science based society. The world has become so complex that scientific literacy has become a necessity for any job. With many unexplored areas, science promises to continue to improve our understanding of the universe and to give us greater control over our world.

Without the gradual accumulation of scientific knowledge over thousands of years, many things would not be possible. Today, scientists are able to examine the structure of galaxies and the way microorganisms function. They may investigate the reasons why we act the way we do, or prove complicated mathematical statements. All scientists, no matter the field in which they work, explore the workings and wonders of the world.

As new areas of scientific research continually emerge, it is necessary that Canada ensures that its students learn of and understand these accomplishments, so that when they emerge and become the next generation of scientists, they too will develop new and improved theories and concepts, and pass on the messages and beauties of science. Ensuring generations yet to come a chance to enjoy and satisfy their continuing curiosities. As scientific knowledge continues to grow and improve, its importance and requirements on the international job market will also increase. This phenomenon will forever continue, as science and technologies continue to evolve, and as the human race will continue to discover new things with each passing day.