effectively teach science to diverse student populations are urgently needed. In order to provide adequate opportunities for all students to learn science, teachers need preparation and professional development in how to respond to variation among students. They also need to know how to recognize and build on the strengths and needs that students of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds bring to the classroom. This should be a central feature of science teacher preparation courses and ongoing teacher professional development.

Providers of professional development should align their programs with the key conclusions and recommendations in this report. They should pay particular attention to the four strands of scientific proficiency, building on core ideas in science over long periods of time, and current research on how students learn science.

Recommendation 6: State and local school systems should ensure that all K-8 teachers experience sustained science-specific professional development in preparation and while in service. Professional development should be rooted in the science that teachers teach and should include opportunities to learn about science, about current research on how children learn science, and about how to teach science.

Recommendation 7: University-based science courses for teacher candidates and teachers’ ongoing opportunities to learn science in service should mirror the opportunities they will need to provide for their students, that is, incorporating practices in all four strands and giving sustained attention to the core ideas in the discipline. The topics of study should be aligned with central topics in the K-8 curriculum so that teachers come to appreciate the development of concepts and practices that appear across all grades.

Recommendation 8: Federal agencies that fund providers of professional development should design funding programs that require applicants to incorporate models of instruction that combine the four strands, focus on core ideas in science, and enhance teachers’ science content knowledge, knowledge of how students learn science, and knowledge of how to teach science.


In our synthesis of the research evidence, we have drawn on varied programs of research across multiple fields, all of which can be brought to bear on the question of how children learn science. Integrating across bod-

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