Why do kids hate science?Traditionally, many kids profess to "hate science or math".  Why do you think some students have a deep aversion to science where they actually say they hate it?  What is...

Why do kids hate science?

Traditionally, many kids profess to "hate science or math".  Why do you think some students have a deep aversion to science where they actually say they hate it?  What is it about this field that turns many students off, before they ever try it? Please comment if you have ever experienced this before.

24 Answers

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think it has a lot to do with the left brain/right brain thing. Sciences like Chemistry, which was always dry for me, never appealed. It wasn't something that grabbed by attention, or fed my soul, the way English or the arts did. Maybe it isn't flexible enough: it's written in stone. However, I always liked Bio, even in high school, and later in college.

The other reality may be based on what comes more naturally to a student. If it's easy to grasp, kids tend to like it more because so many look for the easy fix. I know that kids in our high school liked environmental science: they got to go outside, interacted with their world and studied nature, which probably didn't seem so foreign to them.

Perhaps the love of any subject depends on engaging the student: if we could all find a way to do this on a regular basis, it would be so much easier. I know plenty of kids who hate English, too. It is a real puzzler, especially for those of us who enjoy the subject we teach!

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

"Hate" is so easy to say and is probably not actually what is generally meant. I watch my young nieces and nephews inspect bugs and ask questions and wonder about how things work--all science--but I know one day they may also "hate" science. There is obviously a disconnect, and the best teachers manage to bridge that gap.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I think as students get older they tend to recognize their intellectual strengths and weaknesses.  I teach all seniors, and they seem to know they "math/science people,"  "English/history/languages people," "technical arts (cosmetology/mechanics/drafting) people" etc.  Because the high school lets students have some freedom to select classes that interest students, the students can play to their strengths and that may also reinforce their attitudes about other classes.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I've often wondered if, with all good intentions, we as teachers somehow manage to kill a kid's love for a subject. I have a friend whose twelve-year-old son loved art--until he took an art class in middle school! (No offense intended, middle-school art teachers.) I think sometimes we get so focused on trees and the testing of trees that perhaps we miss the forest.

I am reminded of a story I heard a long time ago, and I'm sure you have probably heard it, too, somewhere. A third-grade class is studying quietly when it begins to snow. All the children run to the windows to watch, entranced. "Come back to your seats, children," the teacher says. "It is time for science." I teach English, but I have tried never to forget the lesson in that story.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree with previous posts on the "why's" behind subject hatred.  Ironically, as a kid I also was under the impression that everyone hated math and loved English/reading (because I did).  As a high school English teacher, the majority of my students (I take regular polls) profess to like math and science BETTER than English because, I have found, by high school, students have lost the love of reading and writing.

One way I try to combat this natural aversion to my class is to show them how all the subjects they profess to love are actually RELATED to English.  It seems every single subject in school has various connections to other subjects, it is just a matter of figuring out how to draw those connections for your students.  Writing a grammatically correct sentence, for example, is very similar to balancing an equation.

If you can get your students to think about science through the lens of their favorite subjects, perhaps you can win them over.

(Sidenote: I learned how to outline properly in 5th grade science, one of the best days of my life!)

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marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

Most kids hate science and math because they're not interesting enough to them.  I've found that if you make it fun, interesting, and hands-on they are more likely to end up liking it. 

Lots of times kids will say they hate something, when in fact they are more bored than anything.  Instead of reading about how clouds are made, let them gather around a teakettle and make clouds for themself! 

That's what we do in our school and it works!

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I agree that science is no more 'hated' than any other subject. In my curent school we have a progressive head of department who has topics such as the chemistry of food, Harry Potter science (with the whizzbang stuff), forensics and evolution where the kids have to make fire and skin a rabbit (seniors only, this one!). There is a heavy bias towards practicals and our kids adore it. As others have suggested, capitalise on the parts of your discipline which engage us all. Lessons somewhere between Mythbusters and Brainiac would turn even my head!

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Yeah, I'm a history teacher, so welcome to the club of teachers who hear about kids' academic hatred.  I think they toss the word around pretty loosely.  Any academic subject takes discipline in terms of work ethic and focus, and I believe that it is the focus and time required that kids hate as opposed to any one subject.

To "hate" all of science is a ridiculous notion, just as it is ridiculous to hate everything that ever happened to anyone who ever lived (history).  Finding what piques their interest about my subject is part of my challenge as a teacher, and yours.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Personally, I hated science because I loved the Arts subjects so much more! My own personal experience was that Science and Maths was taught in a way that divorced it from reality. We had no practical application of the issues and were not shown how they could be used in real life. Therefore, why learn it? What is attractive about a page of problems that you need to use equations to work out if you can't see how it can be linked into your life? I am sure Science teaching has changed loads, but this was my experience a few years back.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I would say that most of the students you hear say that they hate science is, as stated in previous post, a lack of understanding the concepts and vocabulary. I think once students are able to experience science through a more hands on lab type class they begin to enjoy it more.  

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Perhaps you hear this more because you are a science teacher.  I would imagine that every teacher hears that students hate his or her subject.  I know I hear complaints about hating history or government and I do not hear similar complaints about science.  So I think that some students hate each subject simply because different people have different likes and dislikes.

As far as why someone might hate science, it is (for those of us who do not have an innate talent for it) complicated.  It uses a strange vocabulary (moles, titration, precipitates, vectors, etc) and the concepts can be very hard to remember (stages of mitosis...).  It's not a simple subject and those who have trouble with it will tend to say that they hate it.

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julia-renee | Student, Grade 8 | eNotes Newbie

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Well, to be honest, science and math are hard subject because they require more thinking than most subjects because you're always dealing with numbers.

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mweisenberger | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I feel that the hate toward science and math is getting less and less based of the way the students receive the information. today science should be extremely hands on. I feel if students must only read out of a book and answer worksheet questions they would hate to engage in a class like that. if the teacher makes the world around them their classroom students would be much more excited. physical labs and hands on learning. students should be exploring outside and investigating together, using fun equipment, and creating mini simulations of events that happen around them. the more involved the  students is in their learning and  feels in control of the way they learn the more excited they are to engage and reveal their success.

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udonbutterfly | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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I think the reason why so many have a disconnect with science is the same reason why so many people do not like math. Just like math, science is an abstract concept that relies on your ability to comprehend a set amount theory's that helps you solve a problem. Unlike reading, where can visually see things play out interpret from many angles, there is really only one answer and for many who think visually they will have a difficult time grasping such an abstract concept.

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cookiee-monster | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

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