Science Education for children has become a critical issue. The National Governors Association for Best Practices recently indicated that it was time for teachers to be more science-centered. In a letter, the association expressed concern that teachers were not providing adequate science instruction. More specifically, the NGA recommended that core concepts be taught around three areas: biological evolution, physical sciences, and environment and human development.
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Is the Science In Your Classroom Measuring Up?
Many positive changes can be made in classrooms, and teachers should make every effort to help their students understand and appreciate the subject matter. However, the new findings from the U.S. Department of Education indicate that teachers need to do even more to make science education a significant part of the school day. A recent study completed by researchers at The University of California-Davis Center for Studies in Education found that teachers often focus too much on science content and less on the students’ abilities and interests. The study, “Is the Science In Your Classroom Measuring Up?” found that by implementing a process that would help teachers explain the subject in an interesting way, students’ interest in and enjoyment of the subject skyrocketed.
According to the new study, teachers focused far too much on teaching scientific principles rather than helping students learn how to use the information they were being taught. What’s more, when they explained the concepts to students in a hands-on way, teachers found that their students retained the information much better. In addition, when they discussed the material with their students in a hands-on manner, teachers saw their test scores go up. Surprisingly, these same teachers noted that they got more student cooperation and participation when they taught with hands-on science instruction. In addition to the new study, a separate one conducted in 2009 by the National Educational Association led a group of educators to conclude that hands-on science instruction yields better results. In fact, according to this study, students were able to retain the concepts much better and showed a greater understanding of the scientific method.
How to enhance the content delivered to children in the classroom?
Science teachers across the country have been faced with a tough decision: How do they enhance the content they deliver to children in the classroom? Increasingly, teachers are turning to educational technology such as digital science learning software in order to add a hands-on, real-life scientific learning component to their lessons. But how does a teacher go about incorporating this kind of technology into their classroom, especially in an elementary education setting where the entire focus is on textbook reading, memorization, and repetition? In an era of social media and cell phones, many teachers are embracing the idea of giving their students a digital education experience. However, there are some critical questions to ask before this potentially successful move becomes a reality in the classroom.
One of the biggest questions teachers face is what types of activities they can integrate with the traditional lessons they teach? Although the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) recommends engaging kids in hands-on activities such as puzzles and games, this approach has some problems. According to the NCSE, many parents and students are receptive to activities that allow them to “get things moving” and do not necessarily require repetitive listening or viewing.
According to the Center for Science Education, forcing students to engage with hands-on activities may cause a decrease in natural curiosity, particularly when they reach elementary years. According to the Center for Science Education, the best way to reach children’s attention is to first provide them with hands-on activities, including activities that build on the subject matter they have already learned. For example, using a parent’s previous understanding of gravity as a basis for explaining the relationship between planetary objects is much more compelling than describing it in terms of solar system objects. Therefore, teaching through example in elementary schools is essential.
Forcing children to learn by doing is also problematic. Forcing students to develop specific behaviors through the use of tests and quizzes is not a productive way of engaging students in science education. According to the Center for Science Education, hands-on activities are more effective than tasks that only require reading, writing, or listening. Furthermore, many experts recommend that teachers use various instructional strategies, such as prompts, games, and prompts to engage their students more in science teaching.
National Standards set standards that teachers must follow. According to the NCSE, many states and the U.S. Department of Education adhere to these national standards for teaching science in elementary years. According to the Center for Science Education, many states have adopted the NCSE’s Standards for English Language Learning, while others have adopted mathematics and science standards. According to the National Standards for Education, the Standards for Math, Science, and Technology Action Plans (SHTAP) are used in all states to implement elementary science education.