Screen-to-Nature: Opening Doors to Traditional Knowledge and Hands-on Science Education

Document Type


Journal/Book Title

NACTA Journal

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



Science teachers continuously struggle to develop hands-on, stimulating pedagological tools that capture the enthusiasm of their students, while simultaneously grappling with issues of cost effectiveness and relevance to real-world situations. These constraints are particularly pronounced when educating indigenous students, who navigate daily between traditional and Western knowledge systems. An innovative “Screens-to-Nature” (STN) system, a portfolio of field-deployable bioassays and practical training, offers a well-designed alternative approach to transdisciplinary education, by immersing students in a guided approach to bioexploratory research. The STN bioassays simply and expediently give students the tools to detect bioactive, healthprotecting properties present in local, indigenous plant materials, microbes, and fungi. The tests are reliable, accurate, low-cost, and relevant for multiple scientific disciplines. Students are transformed from observers into active researchers, able to observe and record their own uncharted scientific discoveries. Because the STN system can be implemented on traditionally-important medicinal herbs and foods, links between indigenous knowledge and Western science, as well as youth-to-elder communications, are fostered. Case studies from multiple global locations have provided positive insights as to how the STN system can stimulate the science education experience and provoke expanded science discovery.

This document is currently not available here.