A Framework for K-12 Science Education
The authors discuss the current failing system of science education and outline a plan to remedy the lack of interest and preparedness that the majority of American students display with regards to STEM disciplines. This general framework is based on prior science education research, and is intended to inform states, schools, and administrators on how to implement more effective teaching and learning strategies.
The reading states that all children have an innate curiosity, and teachers should capitalize on this sense of wonder in order to pique student interest in the sciences. By framing the K-12 teaching of science around a small number of core ideas, students will be able to integrate main concepts and delve more deeply into these themes as they progress throughout their education. Furthermore, teachers should work to make science feel relevant to their students’ lives by relating academic concepts to observable real world phenomena. The authors also discuss the need for students to learn not just scientific content, but also the ability to participate in practices that relate the students’ formal education to the realities of the professional scientific community.
- · Interdisciplinary applications of science: The curriculum that the authors propose focuses on the interplay between science, engineering, and technology and how the cross-disciplinary nature of these fields allows for new discovery.
- · Knowledge and practice: By engaging K-12 students in inquiry-based learning, experimentation, and modeling, the authors suggest that students will become more invested in the exploratory nature of science.
- · Argumentation, critique, and analysis: These techniques help students understand the role that constant evaluation plays in the field of science, and the authors posit that these methods will encourage critical thought regarding scientific theories, models, and experimental designs.
I enjoy the framework’s overall attitude towards K-12 science education. Too often, students perceive success in the sciences as rote memorization of facts, which, while sometimes crucial, does not promote the innovative and dynamic nature of scientific discovery. Nonetheless, I wonder what the balance between knowledge and practice looks like in a secondary classroom. In my undergraduate science experience, I found that I was able to think critically and construct individual knowledge with respect to scientific concepts; however, this more expert-level thinking came only after certain information had been adequately memorized. Is there a way to promote a more simultaneous activation of knowledge and practice?