Remember the first time you planted a seed and watched it sprout? Or explored how a magnet attracted a nail? If these questions bring back memories of joy and wonder, then you understand the idea behind inquiry-based science—an approach to science education that challenges children to ask questions, solve problems, and develop scientific skills as well as gain knowledge. Inquiry-based science is based on research and experience, both of which confirm that children learn science best when they engage in hands-on science activities rather than read from a textbook.
The recent National Science Education Standards prepared by the National Research Council call for a revolution in science education. They stress that the science taught must be based on active inquiry and that science should become a core activity in every grade, starting in kindergarten. This easy-to-read and practical book shows how to bring about the changes recommended in the standards. It provides guidelines for planning and implementing an inquiry-based science program in any school district.
The book is divided into three parts. "Building a Foundation for Change," presents a rationale for inquiry-based science and describes how teaching through inquiry supports the way children naturally learn. It concludes with basic guidelines for planning a program.
School administrators, teachers, and parents will be especially interested in the second part, "The Nuts and Bolts of Change." This section describes the five building blocks of an elementary science program:
Together, these five elements provide a working model of how to implement hands-on science.
The third part, "Inquiry-Centered Science in Practice," presents profiles of the successful inquiry-based science programs in districts nationwide. These profiles show how the principles of hands-on science can be adapted to different school settings.
If you want to improve the way science is taught in the elementary schools in your community, Science for All Children is an indispensable resource.
Table of Contents
|Part 1: Building a Foundation for Change||5-6|
|1. The Value of Science Education||7-20|
|2. How Children Learn||21-31|
|3. Sharing the Vision of Exemplary Elementary Science||32-38|
|4. Planning for the New Elementary Science Program||39-60|
|Part 2: The Nuts and Bolts of Change||61-62|
|5. Criteria for Selecting Inquiry-Centered Science Curriculum Materials||63-75|
|6. Professional Development for Inquiry-Centered Science||76-88|
|7. Establishing a Science Materials Support Center||89-99|
|8. Assessment Strategies for Inquiry-Centered Science||100-121|
|9. Building Support for the Science Program||122-132|
|Part 3: Inquiry-Centered Science in Practice||133-134|
|Montgomery County, Maryland||138-145|
|East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana||153-157|
|San Francisco, California||177-183|
|Green Bay, Wisconsin||184-190|
|Appendix A: Professional Associations and U.S. Government Organizations||196-213|
|Appendix B: Exemplary Elementary Science Curriculum Materials||214-215|
|National Science Resources Center Advisory Board||224-226|
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