Strand 2: Come to generate, understand, remember, and use concepts, explanations, arguments, models and facts related to science.


Strand 3: Manipulate, test, explore, predict, question, observe, and make sense of the natural and physical world.


Strand 4: Reflect on science as a way of knowing; on processes, concepts, and institutions of science; and on their own process of learning about phenomena.


Strand 5: Participate in scientific activities and learning practices with others, using scientific language and tools.


Strand 6: Think about themselves as science learners and develop an identity as someone who knows about, uses, and sometimes contributes to science.

The strands are distinct from, but necessarily overlap with, the science-specific knowledge, skills, attitudes, and dispositions that can be developed in schools. Specifically, a previous National Research Council report (2007) on K-8 science learning, Taking Science to School, proposed a four-strand framework from which the current six-strand model evolved. By building on that four-strand framework, we underscore that the goals of schools and informal, nonschool settings are both overlapping and complementary. The two additional strands—Strands 1 and 6—are prominent and of special value in informal learning environments. Strands 2 through 5 are explained in greater detail in Chapter 3.

Strand 1, which focuses on the development of interest and motivation to learn through interaction with phenomena in the natural and designed world, is fundamental. Strand 1 emphasizes the importance of building on prior interests and motivations by allowing learners choice and agency in their learning. Strand 1 is particularly relevant to informal environments that are rich with phenomena—a local stream, backyard insects, a museum exhibit illustrating Newtonian physics, watching pigeons downtown, ranger-led national park tours. Such phenomena often inspire scientific inquiry for scientists and nonscientists alike. They often serve as an “on ramp” to help the learner build familiarity with the natural and designed world and to establish the experience base, motivation, and knowledge that fuel and inform later science learning experiences.

Strand 6 is another strand that is particularly important to informal environments, addressing how learners view themselves with respect to science—their “science learner identity.” This strand speaks to the process by which some individuals come to view themselves and come to be socially recognized as comfortable with, knowledgeable about, interested in, and



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