Schools should shift to hands-on learning


“Take notes over…”

“Complete this worksheet…”

“Answer these questions…”

Those are common phrases found in the high school teacher’s vernacular. Those are also the phrases that every single high schooler dreads.

High schoolers spend approximately three and a half hours on homework per week according to That’s five hundred and four hours of homework during high school, not including summer homework, and most of that time is spent on notes and worksheets – grunt work.

There’s another way. In some classes, a few class periods per year are spent on labs, research of the student’s choice and activities that help students learn about the topics in depth – without notes or worksheets or hour-long lectures. Often, these labs and hands-on activities are what students remember long after that class, as well.

Though it may be more expensive, and more time consuming, isn’t deeper, more lasting learning worth it? Instead of spending seven hours per day lecturing, and assigning another three and a half per week, teachers could spend hours a day exploring real-life concepts with their students. Their students, in turn, would find school more enjoyable and even more educational.

So, why not? The benefits of hands-on learning are nearly endless, and the downsides, well, are few.