Joy Hakim is trying to change the way we deliver information in our schools. She says stories are the way to go; they not only charge the mind, they provide a base for remembering. So she has tackled the traditional subjects–history and science–and put their information in narrative clothing.
Says Joy: “Much school learning in recent years has been fact and test driven, with no narrative base. It hasn’t worked. The way cultures have traditionally passed on their ideas is through stories. The Greeks knew that, and so, too, did Mr. McGuffey, whose ‘readers’ taught generations of Americans.”
Material written in a narrative format, she contends, helps readers develop Information Age skills, especially those involving analytical reading and critical thinking.
It seems to work. Joy not only gets love letters from teachers and students, she’s also had some terrific reviews from her peers. Lisa Leigh Connors, writing in the Christian Science Monitor had this to say about Joy’s three book series: The Story of Science:
“The Greek mathematician Archimedes used mirrors and the sun’s rays to fight Roman sailors. On Magellan’s journey, the crew ate rats and boiled leather. . .
Welcome to science class, Joy Hakim style. In her new textbooks, Ms. Hakim uses history as a starting point to leap into scientific theory and practice. She hopes to convince young students that science is not just for scientists. . .It’s new territory for the author who has been named the J.K. Rowling of education writing. Previously, Hakim wrote “A History of Us” textbooks, which won the Michener Prize for writing in 1997. The books have sold 4 million copies.”
The Story of Science was co-published by Smithsonian Books and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).
Can you think of some narrative stories that would engage students in science and technology?
Read more about Joy here.
Watch this Teacher Tube interview with Joy on why she why she came to develop this narrative based science program for students.
And here are remarks made by Joy at the Smithsonian Institution about The Story of Science series.