Utilizing Drawing as an Effective Learning Tool

At the beginning of the school year, I always tell my students that science is a descriptive discipline. The main goal of a scientist is to observe phenomena and accurately convey their observations. We often overlook the beauty that surrounds us because we take it for granted and fail to notice it.

In order to accurately convey what we observe, we need to develop the skill of truly seeing things. This may sound simple, but it is actually quite challenging. When we look at something, our brain tricks us into thinking that we see all the important information right away.

According to research, more than 50 percent of our brain is dedicated to interpreting visual information. In just 13 milliseconds, our brain can detect meaning from visual images. This is especially true for students who are constantly exposed to visual cues through their daily scrolling through hundreds of images.

However, the interesting details of life only reveal themselves when we spend a significant amount of time consciously observing something. That is why even after looking at an object a hundred times, we can still discover new details. Our brain filters out so much information unless we deliberately focus on something and study it.

As a science teacher, one of my main objectives is to help students see those beautiful and interesting details. I achieve this by having them draw what they observe and write detailed descriptions. Drawing requires students to spend a longer time examining their subject, while writing helps them consciously acknowledge the details they see. I explain to my students that just like every individual is unique, every object in our world is unique in its own way.

The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” accurately reflects the fact that the human brain is exceptional at capturing and interpreting visual information. It is the student’s responsibility to capture and share those details that are not easily noticeable.

Student Pushback

Initially, many students dislike the activity of drawing. Some have expressed their concerns:

  • “This isn’t fair—you’re discriminating against the untalented!”
  • “I can’t do this—I have astigmatism.”
  • “This is exacerbating my anxiety!”

I always encourage my students to simply do their best, and research supports my approach. The aesthetic quality of a student’s drawing during a lesson has little influence on their learning. While some students may grumble about the activity, they eventually begin to notice changes as they get accustomed to incorporating drawing into their routine work. Some of their feedback after a few months of drawing includes:

  • “I

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