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  1. #1

    Default Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8

    Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8: Building a Village in California: Summary of a Convocation

    Key Points in the article:
    • Many indicators point to severe weaknesses in California’s science education
    systems at the kindergarten through eighth grade (K-8) levels.
    • K-8 students in California spend too little time studying science, many of
    their teachers are not well prepared in the subject, and the support system
    for science instruction has deteriorated.
    • A proliferation of overly detailed standards and poorly conceived assessments
    has trivialized science education.
    • Yet there exists a solid base on which to strengthen K-8 science education
    in California and across the nation, including a nascent movement toward
    common national standards, new research findings on effective educational
    practices; the involvement of scientific, business, and philanthropic organizations
    in many schools; and the growing realization that science education
    must improve to support future prosperity.
    • The goal of establishing high national standards often has been mistakenly
    interpreted as requiring standardization, but standardization ignores the
    differing needs of students, schools, and districts.
    • Ideally, the curriculum drives the development of assessments, but today
    large-scale assessments often dictate the content of the curriculum and
    approaches to instruction.
    • Teachers need high-quality professional development to use effective curricula
    and assessments to full advantage.
    • Avoiding educational failure requires recognizing the factors in the early
    grades that influence later student success.
    • Linking education in technology, engineering, and mathematics to science
    education, thereby creating a truly integrated science, technology, engineering,
    and mathematics (STEM) education, could have major implications for
    K-12 education.
    • A demonstration of effective science teaching with a diverse group of fifth
    graders and a poster session and demonstration of scientific concepts by
    sixth graders showed how engaging and informative science education
    can be.
    • Exemplary programs in California and elsewhere in the nation, several of
    which were described at the convocation, demonstrate that highly effective
    science education not only can be implemented but also has many
    benefits.
    • The Beckman@Science Program in Orange County has provided more
    than 1 million students with hands-on, inquiry-based science classes.
    • The Merck Institute for Science Education has improved the teaching and
    learning of science through an emphasis on student performance and participation,
    instructional practice, school culture, and district policies.
    • The Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform Program in
    Washington state has brought together the stakeholders involved in science
    education to pursue a multifaceted agenda of improvements.
    • The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has sought to
    strengthen science education through fellowships to undergraduate science
    majors intending to become teachers.
    • Understanding how effective science education programs can be sustained
    requires an examination of the assertions and associated assumptions
    underlying those programs.
    • Sustainability can be defined as the ability of a program to maintain core
    beliefs and values and use them to guide adaptations to internal and external
    changes and pressures over time.
    • A comprehensive literature review has revealed more than 25 factors associated
    with the sustainability of effective science education for grades
    K-8, including some that have not been widely discussed before.
    • Sustainability requires and expects that a program’s operating principles
    are likely to be adapted to different circumstances as they are instituted in
    new places, but that its core beliefs and values will remain largely intact.
    • Program planning should accommodate future as well as current goals.
    • The critical components of effective programs need to be identified in clear
    language to learn from innovation.
    • Patience, a long-term perspective, and flexibility are all critical to sustainability.
    • A statewide coalition dedicated to creating an outstanding science education
    system could address the problems facing K-8 science education in
    California today.
    • Each sector represented in the coalition could play a distinct role while
    contributing to the coalition’s overall goals.
    • Professional development, the time devoted to science in K-8 classrooms,
    and the establishment of an infrastructure for ongoing educational improvement
    all require special emphasis.
    • The time to act is now, while science education occupies a position of
    prominence on state and national agendas.
    Thoughts?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dooraven's Avatar
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    Default

    I agree, Science should be taught as a priority subject in school curriculum. Especially in this modern age.
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  3. #3

    Default

    I remember that science and social studies weren't taught till fairly late in grade school for me.

    I am intrigued to find out what people think about standards.

    I think the article supported the same views I have about standards.

    • A proliferation of overly detailed standards and poorly conceived assessments
    has trivialized science education.
    • Yet there exists a solid base on which to strengthen K-8 science education
    in California and across the nation, including a nascent movement toward
    common national standards, new research findings on effective educational
    practices; the involvement of scientific, business, and philanthropic organizations
    in many schools; and the growing realization that science education
    must improve to support future prosperity.
    • The goal of establishing high national standards often has been mistakenly
    interpreted as requiring standardization, but standardization ignores the
    differing needs of students, schools, and districts.
    • Ideally, the curriculum drives the development of assessments, but today
    large-scale assessments often dictate the content of the curriculum and
    approaches to instruction.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #4
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I agree. Science education is one of the best opportunities to teach reasoning skills which can be applied to all areas of life. I see that as the core, rather than learning lots of facts which can be easily looked up today (perhaps teach how to find and filter accurate information should be included). Understanding the scientific process and how to apply it in a given context is badly needed in society. I wish my own science education had been better.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

    I want to be just like my mother, even if she is bat-shit crazy.

  5. #5
    Retired Member Wonkavision's Avatar
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    These are the parts I'm most interested in:

    • Linking education in technology, engineering, and mathematics to science
    education, thereby creating a truly integrated science, technology, engineering,
    and mathematics (STEM) education, could have major implications for
    K-12 education.
    • A demonstration of effective science teaching with a diverse group of fifth
    graders and a poster session and demonstration of scientific concepts by
    sixth graders showed how engaging and informative science education
    can be.
    • Exemplary programs in California and elsewhere in the nation, several of
    which were described at the convocation, demonstrate that highly effective
    science education not only can be implemented but also has many
    benefits.
    • The Beckman@Science Program in Orange County has provided more
    than 1 million students with hands-on, inquiry-based science classes.
    • The Merck Institute for Science Education has improved the teaching and
    learning of science through an emphasis on student performance and participation,
    instructional practice, school culture, and district policies.
    I would particularly like to see some application of the Multiple Intelligences theory in K-12 education.

    Of course, I know of at least one person who thinks people would riot in the streets if schools explored Multiple Intelligences, but I doubt that would be a real concern.
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  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Wonkavision View Post
    These are the parts I'm most interested in:



    I would particularly like to see some application of the Multiple Intelligences theory in K-12 education.

    Of course, I know of at least one person who thinks people would riot in the streets if schools explored Multiple Intelligences, but I doubt that would be a real concern.
    You're thinking exploratorium?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  7. #7
    Retired Member Wonkavision's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    You're thinking exploratorium?
    That's one option.

    But there are many ways to skin a cat.
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    IT'S BEEN FUN.

    TAKE CARE.

    PEACE OUT!!!


  8. #8

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    I'm not sure about over there, but in Australia we've had a huge skills shortage in science teaching. Mostly because the standard salary for teaching was too low, so it discouraged anyone with good qualifications in science from going into teaching.

    I think it is important to have the teaching good enough at all levels that a student who is driven to learn about things, can learn. I know after coming out of primary school, the first two years of secondary were like grinding to a halt. They defaulted to the standard of the worst primary schools to let everyone catch up to the same level. I lost interest in a lot of things. This may be a case for standardising, may not be...

    I think the level of the teachers is a big part. If you know the theories well you can teach far more openly. Otherwise they have to just follow text books and teach a very fact based rather than understanding based curriculum.
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