PRINCIPLES OF THE FRAMEWORK

Several guiding principles, drawn from what is known about the nature of learning science, underlie both the structure and the content of the framework. These principles include young children’s capacity to learn science, a focus on core ideas, the development of true understanding over time, the consideration both of knowledge and practice, the linkage of science education to students’ interests and experiences, and the promotion of equity.

Children Are Born Investigators

img

The research summarized in Taking Science to School [1] revealed that children entering kindergarten have surprisingly sophisticated ways of thinking about the world, based in part on their direct experiences with the physical environment, such as watching objects fall or collide and observing plants and animals [11-16]. They also learn about the world through everyday activities, such as talking with their families, pursuing hobbies, watching television, and playing with friends [3]. As children try to understand and influence the world around them, they develop ideas about their role in that world and how it works [17-19]. In fact, the capacity of young children—from all backgrounds and socioeconomic levels—to reason in sophisticated ways is much greater than has long been assumed [1]. Although they may lack deep knowledge and extensive experience, they often engage in a wide range of subtle and complex reasoning about the world [20-23]. Thus, before they even enter school, children have developed their own ideas about the physical, biological, and social worlds and how they work. By listening to and taking these ideas seriously, educators can build on what children already know



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement