Introduction

The astronomer Carl Sagan once said, "Everybody starts out as a scientist. Every child has the scientist's sense of wonder and awe." Sustaining this sense of wonder presents teachers, parents, and others close to children with a tremendous responsibility—and an extraordinary opportunity.

Parents and other adults can improve the quality of education in many different ways. This booklet is for those who want to take an active role in improving the science program in their schools. The National Science Education Standards, published in 1996 by the National Research Council, can be an important guide in realizing this goal. The Standards call for a kind of science education that is rare in science classrooms. While focusing on key scientific concepts, the Standards also stress the importance of how students learn. Students need to be able to ask questions, construct explanations, test those explanations against current scientific knowledge, and communicate their ideas to others. Students' learning needs to be assessed in ways that further their mastery of science. All students need supportive educational programs and systems that nurture achievement.

The first section of this booklet argues that science should be a part of all students' education. The second section provides a vision of the curriculum and teaching in a classroom where students can gain the understanding of science and technology that they

In a rapidly changing, increasingly technological world, all students need to understand science and technology. Teachers and administrators increasingly need parents and other members of the community to become partners in making sure our children know what they need to know.



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Introduction The astronomer Carl Sagan once said, "Everybody starts out as a scientist. Every child has the scientist's sense of wonder and awe." Sustaining this sense of wonder presents teachers, parents, and others close to children with a tremendous responsibility—and an extraordinary opportunity. Parents and other adults can improve the quality of education in many different ways. This booklet is for those who want to take an active role in improving the science program in their schools. The National Science Education Standards, published in 1996 by the National Research Council, can be an important guide in realizing this goal. The Standards call for a kind of science education that is rare in science classrooms. While focusing on key scientific concepts, the Standards also stress the importance of how students learn. Students need to be able to ask questions, construct explanations, test those explanations against current scientific knowledge, and communicate their ideas to others. Students' learning needs to be assessed in ways that further their mastery of science. All students need supportive educational programs and systems that nurture achievement. The first section of this booklet argues that science should be a part of all students' education. The second section provides a vision of the curriculum and teaching in a classroom where students can gain the understanding of science and technology that they In a rapidly changing, increasingly technological world, all students need to understand science and technology. Teachers and administrators increasingly need parents and other members of the community to become partners in making sure our children know what they need to know.

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need in today's society. Sections three and four outline how the Standards can help improve the quality of the science being taught and how it is assessed. The last section suggests what you can do to become a partner in improving science teaching and learning in your school. As you read this booklet, consider what you can do to boost the quality of science education in your community. You might be able to raise this matter with your local parent-teacher association, talk to your child's science teacher, or become involved in establishing school policy at the district level. Your commitment—and help—are key. Your input can help make the difference between a mediocre science program and a world-class science education. In a rapidly changing, increasingly technological world, all students need to understand science and technology. Teachers and administrators increasingly need parents and other members of the community to become partners in making sure our children know what they need to know.