Science at its best is about learning to wonder and pursue our curiosity. It teaches us to think critically about the world around us — one of the core skills named by the 21st Century Skills project as a key to success in school and beyond.
Dennis Bartels: Why We Really Need Participatory STEM Education.
Executive Director, Exploratorium
The following comes from a National Research Council committee on STEM learning and competitiveness:
The primary drive of the future economy and concomitant creation of jobs will be innovation, largely derived from advances in science and engineering….4 percent of the nation’s workforce is composed of scientists and engineers; this group disproportionately creates jobs for the other 96 percent.
- Goal 1: Expand the number of students who ultimately pursue advanced degrees and careers in STEM fields and broaden the participation of women and minorities in those fields
- Goal 2: Expand the STEM-capable workforce and broaden the participation of women and minorities in that workforce
- Goal 3: Increase STEM literacy for all students, including those who do not pursue STEM-related careers or additional study in the STEM disciplines.
I’ve been reading up on K-12 Science teaching recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences. The following is from a 2007 document, Ready, Set, Science!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms (National Academies Press).
Four Reasons to Teach Science Well
1. Science is an enterprise that can be harnessed to improve quality of life on a global scale.
2. Science may provide a foundation for the development of language, logic, and problem-solving skills in the classroom
3. A democracy demands that its citizens make personal, community-based, and national decisions that involve scientific information.
4. For some students, science will become a lifelong vocation or avocation.
Another good reference from this publication:
Four Strands of Science Learning
Strand 1: Understanding Scientific Explanations
Strand 2: Generating Scientific Evidence
Strand 3: Reflecting on Scientific Knowledge
Strand 4: Participating Productively in Science
Types of Support Teachers Need to Teach Science Well:
- High-quality curriculum or supplementary materials
- Means by which to have their questions answered (texts, colleagues, outside experts)
- Time and support to work through science tasks as learners
- Opportunity to explore a variety of materials and experience problems that students might have
- Time to think about and assess the knowledge their students bring to class