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What is Enrichment?

Enrichment adds to the learning experience by offering additional content, excitement, and opportunities.  When geoscience professionals visit a class or otherwise interact with students, they offer both personal science experiences and can provide role models that inspire career interests.  Good enrichment makes the best of very limited classroom time to help teachers meet diverse instructional objectives.

Good enrichment contains as many of these key ingredients as possible:

  • Inquiry
    • Science by doing
    • Process more than fact
  • Data
    • Observing, measuring, testing
    • Recording and organizing
    • Manipulating, graphing,
  • Synthesis
    • Interpreting
    • Drawing conclusions
    • Independent thinking and team work
  • Reporting
    • Distilling important results
    • Presenting and defending
  • Fun
    • Excitement and inspiration
    • Rewarding self-discovery
  • Relevance
    • Teacher and district goals and frameworks
    • Grade level appropriate
    • Kid accessible
    • Links to other disciplines

Students learn science by doing science, reinforcing both content and method.  Good science includes opportunities for discovery and exploration, data collection and analysis, and conclusions that must be communicated (and defended!)  Of course, these components must be presented at age and grade-appropriate levels, but even the youngest students can do all these tasks.

Good enrichment integrates other classroom goals, ranging from individual teacher curriculum plans to school district and state science education standards.  A visiting science professional needs to know what these other goals are, and how to help achieve them.

Like science itself, the enrichment content should be objective.  While much of what people learn comes from biased sources, science offers rational methods for recognizing and evaluating that bias.  Even if existing opinions seem one-sided, strongly advocating the opposing view point can very quickly turn off students and teachers.