Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Finally - Refreshed K-12 Science Standrads To Produce More "Hands-On" Learning

Refreshed K-12 Science Standrads To Produce More "Hands-On" Learning
Teaching and learning science in U.S. K-12 schools just got more interesting. Working with the National Research Council (NRC), an advisory group of scientists, cutting-edge child education experts, and science teachers have developed the first set of science teaching standards in more than 15 years. This framework for science education offers students and teachers the means to engage with science through more hands-on experiences and includes a section on developing climate literacy, which has not previously been included.

Dr. Michael Wysession, science textbook author and associate professor of earth & planetary sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, served as a member of the NRC's Committee on a Conceptual Framework for New K-12 Science Education Standards, which helped put together the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Wysession is the lead-off speaker for the NGSS session at the meeting of The Geological Society of America in Denver this week. In his talk "Earth and Space Science in the Next Generation Science Standards," Wysession will emphasize the significant changes in the NGSS for the teaching of earth and space science.

Wysession says, "The greatest disservice you can do to American students is make them memorize long lists of facts." The new standards take the pressure off students and teachers by making experiential learning the focus, rather than working through a long list of facts. "Jargon is not the focus," he says, while asking questions is fundamental. Each of the eight science and engineering practices, presented in the NGSS, Wyession notes, "begins with a verb." These are 1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering); 2. Developing and using models; 3. Planning and carrying out investigations; 4. Analyzing and interpreting data; 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking; 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering); 7. Engaging in argument from evidence; and 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.

Wysession points out that teachers are now being asked to meet a growing demand: U.S. businesses are calling for a work force that is educated in science and technology. These new standards, and the classroom dynamics that they will help to create, are a huge step forward for both educators and businesses, as well as for students.

Susan M. Buhr-Sullivan of the University of Colorado Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), who will also speak in the kick-off session, writes, "The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) represents the best opportunity for geosciences education since 1996, describing a vision of teaching excellence and placing Earth and space science on a par with other disciplines."

Read More: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131027123419.htm

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