Tag Archives: science

When you teach science as recall rather than as thinking?

Creation Museum

Dan Berrett said:

Rates of scientific literacy among American adults hover below 30 percent. More than a third of them aren’t convinced that the planet is warming, and only half think human activity is causing climate change, despite consensus among scientists that it is. Even long-settled subjects are still clouded by doubt: 30 percent of Americans say parents should be able to choose not to vaccinate their children; 53 percent think humans and dinosaurs coexisted; and 70 percent don’t believe in the Big Bang theory.

via http://chronicle.com/article/Teaching-Science-So-It-Sticks/229881

Our generally poor understanding of science has critical policymaking implications…

Image credit: Creation Museum 002b, becky johnson

Science for life and citizenship, not just for scientists

Science Is You

Arthur Camins said:

Despite inducements to change, and a half-century of research-based consensus that students would be well served by more active learning and less lecture and memorization, the latter practices are still ubiquitous. While we remain the world’s leading generator of science and engineering innovation, far too many Americans lack sufficient understanding of the foundational principles of the scientific investigations and engineering designs that have improved our lives.

As a result, they are unable to fully engage in informed participation in debates about such critical issues as climate change, sustainable development and genetic engineering…

the case for a substantial change in what happens in science classrooms. It wants students not to simply memorize what scientists already know but engage in the practices of scientists and engineers in order to understand – and potentially participate in – figuring out and explaining the natural world. Decades of learning science research suggest that this approach is far more likely to result in durable, usable knowledge. This learning includes developing the expertise to evaluate whether scientific explanations and arguments are supportable, refutable or in need of revision.

The third important idea is that scientific literacy is not just specialized knowledge for the gifted few or those who choose science or engineering as a career, but essential for life and citizenship.

via http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/04/20/what-the-future-of-science-education-should-look-like

Image credit: Science Is You, Krissy Venosdale

Countdown to ISTE 02: Science education blogs (aka THE PUSH 2014)

The Push 2014If you were asked to nominate a very short list of blogs for science educators to read / subscribe to, what would you share? Please submit to the list! (there’s a form at the end of this post)

What are some excellent science education blogs that P-12 science educators should be reading? We need both elementary and secondary examples. Please contribute, see the responses, AND share this post with others so that we can get the best list possible.

What science education blogs would you recommend? http://bit.ly/1p3zOjS Please share with others so we get a great list! #sciedchat #edtech

Thanks in advance for helping with this initiative. If we all contribute, we should have a bevy of excellent subject-specific blogs to which we all can point. Please spread the word about THE PUSH!

[Next up: English / language arts education]


What is THE PUSH?

Every day between now and the ISTE conference, we work together to identify excellent subject-specific blogs that are useful to P-12 teachers. Why? Several reasons…

  • To identify blogs that P-12 teachers can use to initially seed (or expand) their RSS readers (e.g., Feedly, FlipboardReeder, Pulse)
  • To facilitate the creation of online, global (not just local) communities of practice by connecting role-alike peers
  • To create a single location where P-12 educators can go to see excellent subject-oriented educational blogging
  • To highlight excellent disciplinary blogging that deserves larger audiences
  • To learn from disciplines other than our own and get ideas about our own teaching and/or blogging

We are looking for blogs with RSS feeds – particularly from P-12 educators – not sites to which we can’t subscribe. This is an effort to update the awesome but now heavily-spammed list we made 5 years ago!

Sioux Central students are making trebuchets, learning physics [VIDEO]

Are your students learning physics by making trebuchets, catapults, and ballistae? Why not? Students in the Sioux Central (IA) Community Schools are and they’re having a blast! (literally)

Are you not entertained?! Great work, Dan Strohmyer!

Rethinking expenditures and policy priorities

The National Association of Science Teachers reports that we currently have approximately 180,000 science teachers in middle schools and high schools. We could replace all of them (which I hasten to add is not necessary) and give their successors full 4-year scholarships as science majors to the State University of New York (where in-state tuition and fees run about $7,000 per year) for less than half the cost of a single $11 billion Nimitz Class aircraft carrier. With the money left over, we could buy new inquiry-based science curricula for every elementary and middle school, train all existing elementary school teachers on the new Next Generation Science Standards, and provide high-quality professional development for every math teacher in the country.

Harold Levy via http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/10/science-teaching-vs-aircraft-carriers.html

You’ve got 6 hours of student effort per day. What will you ask of it?

ScienceWe want to uncover what propels sustained energy in all students regardless of peers, parents, poverty, or tenure.  What occurs systemically that, done differently, could quickly galvanize students?  The resource available tomorrow morning is six hours of student effort.  What will you ask of it?

First, get an outcome picture clear.  It’s not of students passing a test (only to discard it on exiting their “final.”)  It’s not students getting A’s on assignments they never look at again.  It’s not teachers “preparing them for the exam” with review questions that formerly would have been teacher-complicit cheating. The outcome picture instead captures a competence and an attitude about it. In your mind’s eye, assemble a roomful of students each of whom is enthusiastic about science;  who willingly do more than required, who are more interested in the work they do than in the grade they receive.

Running that movie as what we want instruction to produce, we inquire what goes on in students’ minds.  What can we reasonably presume occurs there?  What conditions underlie that scene to generate interest and commitment?

I submit that only one cause is strong enough. An idea seizes their imagination, and they identify personally with its pursuit. Their idea fuses the tools of science with a mental purpose, and the two mesh smoothly.

John Jensen via http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/why-kids-dont-master-science-teaching-science-that-sticks

Image credit: Science, from Bigstock

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