When schools teach science, they often leave out many of the elements that make it compelling. The Creanimate project is designed to put the fun that accompanies real scientific inquiry into an effective educational experience. One element of science that makes it so exciting is discovering and exploring what was previously unknown. Scientists think about difficult, unresolved questions, develop possible explanations, try to make those explanations fit the data, and revise their explanations. During this time, they are working with other scientists, listening to their ideas, trying to convince them of their own theories, or allowing others to try to change their minds. Creanimate allows elementary school children to perform these kind of activities on a level that makes sense to them, and that connects with their natural fascination with animals. In the course of a session with the Creanimate program, a pair of students (we have found that students work well in pairs, interacting with, and encouraging each other) have the opportunity to generate creative hypotheses, consider the ramifications of their hypotheses by examining open-ended questions, and practice the vital skill of reasoning from cases.
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