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PART IV instructional Procedures ant! Materials
17 To Weed or to Cullivate Which? MARY BUDD ROWE lb weed or to cultivate-which? That is the question we must ask of all that we do in biology education at whatever level it takes place. In fact, it appears that 'leveed," rather than "cultivate," is the dominant strategy at virtually all levels of biology instruction, at least to the end of the sophomore year in college. Biology is host to the most exciting ideas and could have more impact on the quality of student life than any other curricular offering but you could not guess that from current textbooks or from curricular outlines or from standardized tests or from much of the observable instruction. The weeding approach appears in some places as early as the middle-school life-science course, becomes more vigorous in the high-school biology program, and goes on with a vengeance in the beginning university courses. What would we do differently if we shifted from weeding to cultivating? For one thing, we would put story lines, or themes, or some articulated pat- terns of ideas back into the texts, i.e., provide some meaningful frameworks for the budding and attachment of new shoots of information. Most of the current biology texts read like glossaries. Denuded of story lines, these products of massive agglutinations of facts were induced in response to an epidemic of testing, which currently plagues the educational countryside. Mary Budd Rowe is professor of education at the University of Florida, a former president of the National Science leachers Association, and author of numerous papers on high-school biology education. 151
152 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY That means, of course, that in order to change texts we need to change tests to conform to the images, ideas, attitudes, and patterns of relationships among these that we want to characterize a program focused on cultivating a rich biological perspective in all students given into our care for roughly 150 hours in a typical academic year. One hundred fifty hours is all we have to start a mental mutation in our students. Aside from changing the tools- i.e., texts and tests we have to con- sider faculty susceptibility to the ideas of a biology with a much broader perspective than they feel free to take in the currently prevalent "weed 'em out" ideology. Under the philosophy of cultivation, we do more to help more students to achieve and maintain an interest in biology for the rest of their lives. We know something of what it would take to make that happen, but we are like the county agent who has a "new" method that will increase productivity, but can't find anyone willing to risk a change. What must we do? Consider first some of the major questions in the minds of adolescents. What can a biology program contribute to their search for solutions? Certainly, we cannot ignore the questions. They tell you what the agenda is from the students' perspective. · What kind of country is this? What values control activities? Where do I fit in? Do they expect me to succeed or fail? How much effort do I need to make? Is success worth the effort? · Can I get help? Do I have the energy and endurance? What happens if I do not make the effort? What am I up against? What is the competition? What difference can I make? Do I care? Does anybody care? Instructors and program developers also have an agenda. The agendas must be effectively meshed. We must attend to both the content and the process by which students become engaged with the ideas of biology. The cycle of relationships can serve as a useful template for planning purposes (Figure 1~. It depicts fundamental elements that ought to be addressed in a biology program. With the template as a guide, examine the texts, tests, curriculum- instruction as it actually takes place. Ask how often in the 150 hours an opportunity to go completely around the cycle (starting at any place) occurs. In the weeding paradigm, which is largely turf-bounded, it rarely happens. Participation in such a cycle, however, is essential to the growth
TO WEED OR TO CULTIVATE WHICH? ACTIONS/APPLICATIONS / WAYS OF KNOWING What Do I Know? Why Do I Believe It? What Is the Evidence? 153 What Do I Infer? What Must I Do With What I Know? What Are the Options? Do I Know How to Take Action? Do I Know When to Take Action? VALUES/WHO CARES? Do I Care? Do I Value the Outcome? Who Cares? \ CONSEQUENCES Do I Know What Would Happen? FIGURE 1 Guide for examining curriculum: fundamental elements in a program (Rowe, 1983~. Of the biological perspective that we want to cultivate in students, who will be spending the larger part of their lives in the next century. The cycle carries in it the theme of connectedness, instead of the aura of chaos. Of all the scientific and technological ideas confronting us today, possibly the most important is the recognition that humankind is a single world-wide, interdependent species. Survival, therefore, may depend on our ability to speed up the process of cooperation. That, in turn, depends on whether we can develop ways of thinking and feeling that support the process. Attitudes, beliefs, emotions, tastes, and ideologies can either motivate us to engage in productive problem-solving or turn us into fearful, turf-ridden, withdrawn people. They can energize us or enervate us. They can give license to our curiosity and fuel our persistence in the face of difficulties, or they can turn us into frenzied fanatics. They can be the source of public venturesomeness or public apathy. Our world of divergent communities is kept separate by the firmness of differing beliefs, aspirations, trusts and distrusts, convictions, and habits of resolving conflicts. These are the gatekeepers of our future, for they are the framework within which we interpret our experiences, make decisions, and take actions. Presumably,
154 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY education can make a difference as to the direction In which they develop. If we regard attitudes, beliefs, feelings, tastes, and curiosity as untapped sources of national power to be cultivated In part by what we do In biology programs, then we may see our purpose well expressed by Gwen Frostic, Michigan naturalist, poet, and artist: We must create a great change in human direction an understanding of the interdependency by which the universe evolves. Know that knowing- is the underlying foundation for the life we must develop . . . We cannot leave it to the scientists nor any form of government- each individual must fuse a philosophy with a plan of action. REFERENCES Frostic, G. 1970. Beyond Time. Benzonia, Mich.: Presscraft Papers. Rowe, M. B. 1983. Science education: A framework for decision makers. Daedalus 112~2~:123 142.
18 Biology Learning Based on Illustrations ROBERT V. BLYSTONE Illustrations have become an essential part of the biology learning experience. Encompassing graphs, charts, flowcharts, diagrams, line draw- ings, photographs, and symbols, illustrations are found in biology textbooks, computer programs, instructional audiovisual media, and even classroom wall coverings. In a world where 85% of all the messages we receive are vi- sual (Doblin, 1980), illustrations are too often poorly used in both teaching and learning strategies. Proper development and use of illustrations can appreciably aid in the understanding and advancement of biology learning. IMPORTANCE OF ILLUSTRATIONS TO TEXTBOOKS Virtually every high-school biology course uses textbooks. Goldstein (1978) has estimated that 75% of the classroom time and 90% of homework time involve textbook use. The examination of biology textbooks provides a good starting point for the evaluation of the impact of illustrations on biology learning. From the tiger on the front of HO Biology (Goodman et al., 1986) to the lurking black panther of Johnson's Biology (1987), the covers of Robert V. Blystone, professor of biology at llinity University in San Antonio, received a B.S. in 1965 from the University of Texas, El Paso, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in 1968 and 1971 from the University of Texas, Austin. He has taught at llinity University since 1971 and sewed as chairman of biology in 1984-1986. Dr. Blystone's research interests include science textbooks and electron microscopy of developing lungs. 155
devices. 156 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY today's high-school and college biology textbooks symbolize the importance of illustrations. Frequently, biology teachers identify textbooks by the illus- tration on the cover: '`the red-blood-cell book," Heath Biology (McLaren and Rotundo, 1989~; "the owl book," Holt's Modern Biology Ale, 1989~; or "the parrot book," Mader's Biology (1987~. Although the pictures are purely decorative, publishers willingly spend upwards of $10,000 for the perfect textbook cover picture. Many consider the colorful artwork in to- day's textbooks as frivolous and there primarily to sell the books (Davies, 1986~. From half to three-quarters of the cost of the development of a new high-school textbook is invested in artwork and graphic design (John McClements, Addison-Wesley Publishers, personal communication). But is this emphasis on colorful covers and on the artwork on the pages in both high-school and college textbooks frivolous? Comparison of textbook editions reveals evolutionary changes in con- tent and format. The first edition of Keeton's Biological Science appeared in 1967, and the fourth edition in 1986 (Keeton and Gould, 1986~. With more and larger pages, the fourth edition has over 75% more page space; however, the number of words has increased a scant 10%. The majority of the additional space has been used for additional illustrations. Similar increases in textbook size, primarily for illustrations dealing with new concepts, may be seen in other college and high-school book editions. Three reasons contribute to this change: · Good artwork does sell textbooks. · Research has shown that illustrations are effective cognitive Illustrations keep the length of a textbook down by presenting concepts in less space than text alone. The first reason should come as no surprise. The second reason has recently come to light. Until about 20 years ago, the conclusion of most research concerning illustrations as learning devices was that they were neutral or negative in effect. With the work of Dwyer (1972), Wyman (1985), Holliday (1975), and others, a large body of evidence has been collected that properly designed illustrations do work (Levie, 1987~. The third reason is not generally recognized. Blystone and Barnard (1988) showed that the average major texts will reach 1,450 pages by the year 2000 at the present rate of increase. Publishers fully recognize that few people want a 1,450-page college introductory textbook; yet academe wants nothing left out of the book. An illustration takes less space to present complex information than does verbal text; remember that a picture is worth 1,000 words. By using more illustrations, a publisher is increasing the attractiveness of the book, in- creasing understandability, and saving precious space. These three reasons
BIOLOGY LEARNING BASED ON ILLUSTRATIONS ~, , 157 have contributed to illustrations' becoming more important to the message and selling of the textbook. Textbooks for college biology majors in the 1950s averaged over 600 pages and in the 1980s over 1,100 pages long. Blystone and Barnard (19881 reported a decline in the proportion of pages in college biology textbooks with no illustrations from 52% to 22% during this period. The use of photographs increased nearly threefold during the same interval. In contrast with today's textbooks, no color was used in the college biology books of the 1950s. The changes reported for college biology textbooks are mirrored in the high-school texts. The 1987 edition of BSCS (the green edition) is over 1,000 pages long. The emphasis on more illustration in high-school textbooks has also carried over from the college field. The 1989 edition of Modem Biology (Towle, 1989) has nearly all color artwork, and even many of the scanning and electron micrographs are colorized. INCREASED COMPLEXITY OF ILLUSTRATIONS The subject and content of college textbook illustrations have changed considerably over the last 30 years. Figure 1 describes the changes in illustration subject emphasis in college textbooks. On the basis of five levels of biological organization for subject identification, illustrations with molecular and cellular content have appreciably increased. Illustrations concerning whole organisms have also increased. However, the frequency of illustrations with organ- and tissue-level subjects has remained nearly the same (Blystone and Barnard, unpublished). The increase in cellular and molecular illustrations is predictable, given the prominence of today's genetic and biochemical information. The data on the other three levels are difficult to explain. The range of complexity of illustrations can be demonstrated by com- paring the first and fourth editions of Keeton's Biological Science. On page 291 of the first edition, a two-dimensional, black-and-white rendering of a grasshopper is seen. The drawing occupies a quarter of a page, in contrast with an eighth-of-a-page, three-dimensional, color version of a grasshopper seen on page 366 in the fourth edition. The latter illustration is far more realistic than the original, and it uses space more economically. This is a common strategy in textbook revisions. Comparisons of fluid mosaic membrane models from Merrill's Biology: Living Systems (Oram, 1983, p. 75), HBJ Biology (Goodman et al., 1986, p. 102), and Heath Biology (McLaren and Rotundo, 1985, p. 71) reveal great variation in complexity of the representation. In terms of content, the Heath Biology high-school textbook illustration would rival Johnson's Biology (1987, p. 57), a college rendering of the same topic. Variation in complexity of illustrations is apparent in cell models. Four
158 4 In llJ C, CL z Or ~ 2 tar llJ ~ 1 At 1952 FIGURE 1 Subjects of textbook illustration. HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY ~ Whole Organism __ Organ Level Tissue Level ~ Cell Level _O Molecular Level 1957 YEAR 1 985 examples would be HA Biology (Goodman et al., 1986, p. 83), Addison- Wesley's Biology (Kormondy and Essenfeld, 1988, p. ill), Holt's Modern Biology (Otto and joule, 1985, p. 60), and BSCS Biological Science: A Molecular Approach (1985, p. 25). The simplest is the HBJ diagram, which reiterates the classic cell diagram in the Scientific American (1961) special issue on the cell. The most complex would be the Addison-Wesley illustration. All four texts are oriented toward the same market; yet, the illustrations vary dramatically in complexity. Which model would best suit the cognitive level of the audience? The answer is left wanting. Diagrams in textbooks today at both high-school and college levels are more complex. They show much more motion, events at different times within the same illustration, spatial relationships, and process. But an evenness of presentation in terms of this complexity does not exist between textbooks and even within the same textbook In a period when verbal text complexity is constrained by reading level and interest formulas, the illustration levels can suing like the moods of a manic-depressive. SUBTLETIES OF ILLUSTRATION DESIGN Analysis of illustrations can reveal many subtleties. For example, com- pare the endoplasmic-reticulum (ER) illustration in the 1985 Heath Biology (McLaren and Rotundo, 1985, p. 73) and Addison-Wesley's Biology (Kor- mondy and Essenfeld, 1988, p. 106~. The Heath version shows ribosomes
BIOLOGY LEARNING BASED ON ILLUSTMTIONS ~- 3-A FIGURE 2 Different presentations of sarcomere concept. 159 3-B in random array on the ER surface, whereas Addison-Wesley depicts ribo- somes beaded on messenger RNA and attached to the ER. A more subtle problem can be found when comparing the sarcomere illustrations of Keeton and Gould's Biological Science (1986, p. 541) and Raven and Johnson's Biology (1986, p. 132) with that of Curtis's Biology (1983, p. 810) and Mader's Biology (1987, p. 548~. Figure 2 is a recreation of these diagrams. The first two texts are represented on the left side of Figure 2, and the latter two on the right side. Obviously, the left side shows one sarcomere, and the right side one sarcomere and portions of two adjacent sarcomeres. On a recent biology advanced-placement examination, where muscle contraction was explored in a question, most students using illustrations like the left side of Figure 2 would present sarcomere structure as did their text- exactly one sarcomere. In the essay component of the answer, many of these students did not indicate that many sarcomeres operate together. These students viewed muscle contraction in terms of exactly one sarcomere- just as the illustration presented sarcomere structure. Students who learned with sarcomere textbook illustrations like the right side of Figure 2 more frequently recognized that many sarcomeres operate together during contraction. All diagrams are correct in this case, but the students received a better perspective of muscle contractions with the two-sarcomere illustration. These subtle distinctions in illustrations can affect how a student learns. Recall again the model cell diagram from the September 1961 Scientific American. This cell model, now known to be incorrect, still influences learning today. Illustrations often outlive the corresponding text. Illus- trations frequently make a more lasting impression on learning than does the verbal text. Subtle design features, such as beaded ER ribosomes and two-sarcomere models, have lasting effects to an extent greater than many people are generally aware. CURRENT DIRECTION OF ILLUSTRATIONS Textbook graphic designers are taking advantage of new computer technology. High-school biology books are pioneering the use of colored l
160 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY images; colored gene sites are on colored bacterial DNA in Holt's Modern Biology (Idwle, 1989, p. 7~. College textbooks are beginning to emulate the high-school books in this practice of adding color to both electron and light micrographs (Campbell, 1987, pp. 540-541~. Dramatic use of color and graphic layout can be seen in the illustrations of the spider and the evolution of the brain in Holt's Modem Biology (Towle, 1989: no. 487. 6251. The autonomic-nervous-sYstem wiring diagram in Heath 7 ,~ ~ ~ ~ ~ . A - Biology (McLaren and Rotundo, 19BY, p. 7()1' Is tar more arama~c man a similar illustration in Gra?y's Anatomy (Warwick and Williams, 1973, p. 1066~. The Heath diagram also matches the medical-school text in content. Many images in today's biology textbooks are constructed in such a way as to make them comparable with commercial messages. Holt's Modern Biology (ldwle, 1989, p. 52) includes a computer- generated illustration of protein structure showing molecular domains. This sophisticated illustration appears in a feature on proteins. The illustration is only decorative; however, the student reader is never told how to read it. Unlike the viewer of the decorative illustrations of the past, the reader does not have the experience needed to interpret the computer image. Tigers on a book cover may be one thing; computer-produced protein molecular domains are quite another. Publishers are trying very hard to make their textbooks look current. The protein-molecule illustration in Holt is current- so much so that the reader has to be told what it means. This tendency of using illustrations, decorative and otherwise, that have no footing in the realm of common experience is increasing. Depicting concepts through the use of stylized illustrations has become common. People who produce and use books take it for granted that a student will understand the stylized cellular metabolism sequence in an illustration like that in Heath Biology (McLaren and Rotundo, 1989, p. 96) or that a student will understand the four-step packing sequence of DNA into a chromosome as presented in Heath Biology (p. 171~. A definite trend in textbook illustration is assuming that students have sufficient experience in reading illustrations, just as the same students presumably know what the X and Y coordinates are on a graph and on which axis the independent variable should be placed. Those who teach know one cannot make these assumptions about high-school students' graph-reading skills. Publishers should know that some decorative illustrations now coming into use are beyond the comprehension of the intended audience. These illustrations are appearing in textbooks for the sake of being current. This problem exists at the college level, too. Keeton and Gould's Biological Science (1986, p. 580) breaks new ground by showing a computer- generated, three-dimensional graph of magnetic fields and their relation to bird navigation. The diagram calls for interpretative sophistication on the part of the college student.
BIOLOGY LEARNING BASED ON ILLUSTRATIONS TABLE 1 Illustration Types and Characteristics 161 Picture Type Function Purpose Effectiveness Decorative Representational Little or none Contributes Increased appeal attention span Adds concrete- Concrete visual Moderate representation; facilitation of memory Organizational Adds coherence Thematic ness Interpretational Transformational Adds comprehen- sibility Provides a retrieval system organization; facilitation of memory Understanding; facilitation of memory Direct impact on memory Moderate to substantial Moderate to substantial Substantial The current direction of illustration is toward increasing complexity; this increase is being speeded by computer graphic technology. Interpre- tation of these images calls forth the need for increased visual literacy by both the student and the teacher. IMPORTANCE OF VISUAL LITERACY If illustrations are so influential in learning, what degree of complexity should they have? One would argue that generally the more accurate a diagram, the more complex it will be. A good illustration is very much like good prose: difficult to produce. Far more people are able to recognize good prose than a good illustration. Considerable effort is expended in teaching verbal literacy, but little toward visual literacy. A variety of schemata have been described for categorizing illustration types. I will explore only one of the simpler examples. Levin et al. (1987) grouped illustrations into five types: decorational, representational, organizational, interpretational, and transformational. Table 1 indicates the function, purpose, and effectiveness of each category. This list is presented as a challenge to the reader to consider into which category an illustration falls. This Is a step toward visual literacy. By being able to categorize illustrations into functional groups, a teacher can determine how best to use an illustration in a class, or a reviewer of a textbook can determine how well the illustrations have been incorporated into the book. Does the text ask the illustration to perform the proper function?
162 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY MAXIMIZING ILLUSTRATION EFFECTIVENESS Several steps can be taken to maximize the effectiveness of illustrations. Cellular and molecular illustrations can be among the most complex of con- temporary diagrams. These models represent magnifications of 1,000,000 times or more. An example of this type of illustration would be that in Becker's The World of Cells (1986, p. 329~. This figure illustrates seven distinct periods and at least 13 discrete events in producing a protein. One approach to helping students cope with the informational content of such a diagram is to allow them to verbalize the illustration. By translating the visual image back into text, the student will learn more. Another approach is to allow the student to build a model that rep- resents the illustration. Doblin (1980) indicated that model-building was the most realistic form of illustration. Our experience confirms this view. When we give students clay, pipe cleaners, toothpicks, and foam dinner plates, modeling the seven-step process of protein manufacture involving ER is possible. Each step taken by a student in building the model reveals that student's understanding of the process. The student can be challenged as to why the model was manipulated in the way that it was. Model-building with complex textbook illustrations is an excellent way to pace a student's learning. Often these models can be built with a minimum of expense. In an age when children can rotate toys into numerous positions to create different objects, it is time to provide scientific toys that can transform amino acids to proteins. With imagination, scientific illustrations can serve as a template for a whole new generation of toys. Imagine an electron-cascade game that re-enacts the energy flow represented in a mitochondrial membrane illustration. Must educational toys be only in the realm of preschoolers? With simple verbalization and model-building, illustrations can be augmented into even more powerful learning tools. Perhaps publishers can consider these augmentations when designing illustrations and resource materials for texts. SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE It is important that biology textbook users realize that illustrations have far more important roles than decoration. No few people recognize that illustrations are being used by publishers and authors to keep down textbook length. Also, illustrations are being used commercially to indicate how current a book is. Computer-aided advanced graphic design gives both high-school and college textbooks a technological feel. This technological feel implies a sense of being up to date. Also, these new graphics allow
BIOLOGYI=ARNING BASED ON ILLUSTRATIONS 163 ambitious presentations not possible before. Some illustrations challenge the visual literacy of the reader. Complexity of textbook illustrations has been a concern of this paper. But illustration can use other media. Almost 100% of the nation's public high schools have computers (Gibbons, 1988~. Often, these computers are accompanied by software with computer-assisted drills in biology subjects. Usually, these drills have illustrations associated with the presentation. These illustrations vary a great deal in their complexity. Better computer systems can rotate molecules and add animation to illustrations. With CD-ROM and videodisk technology, illustrations can have even wider implications in learning. (See Buddine and Young, 1987, for an explanation of this new technology.) Computer-based illustrations offer opportunities not possible with textbook-based illustrations. The traditional textbook illustration has only recently been verified as being instructionally significant. Now evaluation systems must be worked out to determine how these new media influence illustration-based learning. Even more exciting is the possibility of putting holograms into textbooks. In conclusion, effective use must be made of textbook illustrations. These illustrations must not be taken for granted. With the increasing complexity of illustrations, students must be aided in interpreting the new generation of visual information. Publishers and teachers alike have the obligation of bringing to students images that can be understood. REFERENCES Becker, W. 1986. The World of Cells. Menlo Park, Calif.: Benjamin/Cummings. Blystone, R. V., and K. Barnard. 1988. The future direction of college biology textbooks. BioScience 28~1~:48-52. BSCS (Biological Sciences Curriculum Study). 1985. Biological Science: A Molecular Approach. Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath. (the Blue Edition) BSCS (Biological Sciences Curriculum Study). 1987. Biological Science: An Ecological Approach. 6th ed. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt. (the Green Edition) Buddine, L^, and E. Young. 1987. The Brady Guide to CD-ROM. New York: Prentice Hall. Campbell, N. A. 1987. Biology. Menlo Park, Calif.: Benjamin/Cummings. Curtis, H. 1983. Biology. 4th ed. New York: Worth Publishers. Davies, M. J. 1986. Making kids read junk. Curriculum Review 26~2~:11. Doblin, J. 1980. A structure of contextual communications, pp. 89-111. In P. A. Kolers, M. E. Wrolstad, and H. Bouma, Eds. Processing of Visible Language 2. New York: Plenum Press. Dwyer, F. M. 1972. The effects of overt responses in improving visually programed science instruction. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 9~1~:47-55. Gibbons, J. H. 1988. Power ON!: New Tools for Teaching and Learning-Summary. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. (GPO. No. 052~03-1125-5~. Goldstein, P. 1978. Changing the American School Book. Lexington, Mass.: Heath. Goodman, H. D., T. C. Emmel, Lo E. Graham, F. M. Slowiczek, and Y. Shechter. 1986. HBJ Biology. Orlando, Fla.: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
164 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY Holliday, W. G. 1975. The effects of verbal and adjunct pictorial-verbal information in science instruction. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 12~1~:77~3. Johnson, L. G. 1987. Biology. 2nd ed. Dubuque, Iowa: W. C Brown Publishers. Keeton, W. T. 1967. Biological Science. New York: Norton. Keeton, W. T., and J. Lo Gould. 1986. Biological Science. 4th ed. New York: Norton Publishers. Kormondy, E. J., and B. E. Essenfeld. 1988. Biology: A Systems Approach. Menlo Park, Calif.: Addison-Wesley. Levie, W. H. 1987. Research on pictures: A guide to the literature, pp. 1-50. In D. A. Houghton and E. M. Willows, Eds. The Psychology of Illustration. Vol. 1 Basic Research. New York: Springer-Verlag. Levin, J. R., G. J. Anglin, and R. N. Carney. 1987. On empirically validating functions of pictures in prose, pp. 51-85. In D. A. Houghton and E. M. Willows, Eds. The Psychology of Illustration. Vol. 1 Basic Research. New York: Springer-Verlag. Mader, S. S. 1987. Biology: Evolution, Diversity, and the Environment. 2nd ed. Dubuque, Iowa: W. C. Brown. McLaren, J. E., and Lo Rotunda. 1985. Heath Biology. Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath. McLaren, J. E., and Lo Rotunda. 1989. Heath Biology. Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath. Oram, R. F. 1983. Biology: Living Systems. 4th ed. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill. Otto, J., and A. Towle. 1985. Modern Biology. New York: Hall Rinehart & Winston. Raven, P. H., and G. B. Johnson. 1986. Biology. 2nd ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Times Mirror/Mosby College. Scientific American. 1961. The Cell Issue. 205~3~:1-304. (The Living Cell: Readings from Scientific American. 1965. San Francisco, Calif.: Freeman.) Towle, A. 1989. Modern Biology. Austin, Tex.: Hall Rinehart & Winston. Wyman, M. 1985. Using pictorial language: A discussion of the dimensions of the problem, pp. 245-312. In T. M. Duffy and R. Wailer, Eds. Designing Usable Texts. New York Academic Press. Warwick, R., and P. Lo Williams. 1973. Gray's Anatomy. 35th British ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders.
19 Teaching High-School Biology: Materials and Strategies ROD GER W. BYBEE WHOM ARE WE TEACHING BIOLOGY? High-school biology is offered in 99% of high schools in the United States (Weiss, 1987~. This is a 4% increase since 1977 (Weiss, 1978~. Biology is the most commonly offered science course 35% of all science courses. Half of all science classes relate to the biological sciences (Weiss, 1987~. It is safe to say that biology is taken by the majority of high-school students. And for many of those students, biology is the last science course they will take. It is absolutely essential to consider the demographics of education as we look for a reform of biology education. In All One System, Harold Hodgkinson (1985) presents demographic trends~hanges in population groupings that move through the educational system. Hodgkinson summa- rized his findings (p. 7~: What is coming toward the educational system is a group of children who will be poorer, more ethnically and linguistically diverse, and who will have more handicaps that will affect their learning. Most important, by around the year 2000, America will be a nation in which one of every three of us will be non-white. And minorities will cover a broader socio-economic range than ever before, making simplistic treatment of their needs even less useful. Rodger W. Bybee is associate director of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) in Colorado Springs. Before joining BSCS, Dr. Bybee was associate professor of education at Car- leton College. He is principal investigator for the new BSCS elementa~y-school program, Science for Life and Living: Integrating Science, Technology, and Health. 165
166 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY Other national reports serve to remind us that our educational pro- grams at the precollege level must recognize the personal needs of all youth and the aspirations of society. One such report is The Forgotten Half: Non- College Youth in America (Commission on Work, Family, and Citizenship, 1988~. This report is a counterpoint to the numerous reports that explicitly or implicitly focus on the college-bound student. Whom are we teaching biology? We are teaching the majority of students. And we must recognize that the majority is a diverse group, with different needs, perceptions, and aspirations. High-school biology should be designed for all students, those who are college-bound and those who will enter the workforce immediately after high school. CHARACTERISTICS OF STUDENTS Contemporary research findings about students as learners underlie my discussion of instruction. One finding is that students are motivated to learn science. They are naturally curious about all aspects of the biological world. Whether it is recognizing plants and animals, understanding biotechnology, or investigating ecological systems, students have an interest in their world and seek explanations for how things work. A second finding is that students already have explanations, attitudes, and skills when a biology lesson begins. Students' explanations, attitudes, and skills may well be inadequate, incomplete, or inappropriate. Contem- porary educational researchers use such terms as "misconceptions" and "naive theories" to characterize the cognitive component of student under- standing. Briefly, students interpret instructional activities in terms of what they already know; then they actively seek to relate new concepts, attitudes, or skills to their prior set of concepts, attitudes, or skills. The assimilation of new experiences is based on the students' prior experiences, and it may or may not get "learned" the way the teacher intended. Students' learning is accurately viewed as the process of refining and reconstructing extant knowledge, attitudes, and skills, rather than the steady accumulation of new knowledge, attitudes, and skills. A third finding is that students have different styles of learning. "Learn- ing style" refers to the way individuals perceive, interact with, and respond to the learning environment. Learning styles have cognitive, affective, and physical components. While instructional strategies vale between and within projects, they are based on the idea that learning style is an aspect of students' learning and should be recognized in the strategies of teaching. The fourth finding is that students pass through developmental stages and that tasks influence learning. In the 1960s and 1970s, Jean Piaget's the- ory was popular, and it influenced curriculum development. Piaget's work concentrated on cognitive development. Current research in the cognitive
TEACHING HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY 167 sciences is, in many respects, an extension of Piaget's theories. Contempo- rary curriculum development holds a larger view of student development. In addition to cognitive development, we should also attend to the stu- dent's ethical, social, and psychomotor development. This broader view of development is important to the selection of instructional methods. The general view of student learning presented in the four findings is constructivist. In the constructivist model, students reorganize and recon- struct core concepts, or intellectual structures, through continuous interac- tions with their environment and other people. Applying the constructivist approach to teaching requires the teacher to recognize that students have conceptions of the natural world. Those may be inadequate and need further development. Curriculum developers can design materials and teachers can use strategies so that students encounter objects or events that focus on the concepts, attitudes, or skills that are the intended learning outcomes. Then they can have students encounter problematic situations that are slightly beyond their current level of understanding or skill. The in- structional approach then structures physical and psychological experiences that assist in the construction of more adequate explanations, attitudes, and skills. These new constructions are then applied to different situations and tested against other constructions used to explain and manipulate ob- jects and events in the students' world. Briefly, the students' construction of knowledge can be assisted by using sequences of lessons designed to challenge current conceptions and by providing time and opportunities for reconstruction to occur. WHAT SHOULD EVE TEACH? Through most of time, the immense journey of biological evolution has been directed by natural laws. With scientific and technological advances, such as the discovery of DNA and the development of biotechnology, and with the problems of population, resources, and environments such as famine, destruction of tropical rain forests, and ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere- we have abilities and influences that go beyond our meager understanding and myopic visions. Evolution may now be directed by humans themselves. Here is a clear and profound connection between biology as a pure science and the influence of biology on our global society. Students need an ecological perspective. All other arguments for a particular curriculum emphasis in biology pale in comparison. A recent editorial in Science (Koshland, 1988) described the impor- tance of ecological understanding: Ecology, the study of the delicate balance between species and environ ment . . . shows that evolution has developed clever strategies . . . to use
168 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY resources to maximum effectiveness. Those strategies sometimes involve sym- biosis, sometimes tacit agreements on territory, and sometimes murderous aggression, but all are based on the assumption that resources are limited so that the clever and the parsimonious will gain relative to the inefficient and wasteful. At the end of the editorial, Koshland made a clear connection to human populations: Most species struggle to overcome poverty of resources and occupy niches that allow a critical number to survive in competition with other species. Modern civilization has upset that process so that many (although certainly not all) humans are living far beyond a survival level. The brain that allowed that situation needs now to curb a primordial instinct to increased replication of our own species at the expense of others because the global ecology is threatened. So, ask not whether the bell tolls for the owl or the whale or the rhinoceros; it tolls for us. This powerful statement has the implied theme of educating the public about global ecology. The public has an increased awareness and concern related to interactions among individuals, groups of individuals, and the environment. Public attention is directed to these primary units of ecolog- ical study. This attention has influenced the growing public concern for ecology and public debate about policies that extend the concern to human ecology. In biology education, there has been an essential tension between the need to teach "real biology" the science of life and the need to achieve educational goals related to personal development and societal aspirations the science of living. The continuing debate about the pri- mary goals whether the biology curriculum ought to be a science of life or a science of living is essential to the continued evolution of biology edu- cation. The history of this debate has been described elsewhere (Rosenthal and Bybee, 1987, 1988~. I perceive the contemporary resolution of the debate to favor human ecology, which should be the conceptual framework for the curriculum in biology. The teaching of human ecology is an integrative endeavor among hu- manists, social scientists, and natural scientists. Separate disciplines such as biology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, philosophy, the- ology, and history-evolved to improve understanding of the human con- dition and, we may assume, the human predicament. Now, when problems cut across these disciplines, there is reluctance to transcend the disciplinary boundaries. Such reluctance must be overcome for the very reasons for which disciplines were invented the cause of human understanding, if not survival. The idea of cooperation among the various disciplines serves to maintain the integrity of disciplines while permitting study of the unifying conceptual schemes of biology and the central issues of human ecology" population dynamics, growth, resource use, environmental practices, and
TEACHING HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY 169 the complex interaction of human populations, resources, and environment (Moore, 1985; Ehrlich, 1985~. TEXTBOOKS 1b say that generally the biology textbook is the organizing framework for the curriculum and reading the textbook is the dominant method of instruction is not an overstatement. Over 90% of science teachers use published textbooks (Weiss, 1978, 1987~. And science instruction tends to be dominated by teacher lectures and reading of the textbook (Weiss, 1987; Mullis and Jenkins, 1988~. Any consideration of reforming high-school biology must examine the role of the textbook in instruction. There is a contradiction associated with the use and review of text- books. A majority (76%) of science teachers in grades 10-12 do not consider textbook quality to be a significant problem (Weiss, 1987~. On the other hand, many educators do consider textbook quality and usability to be prob- lems (Musher, 1987; Carter, 1987; AAAS, 1985; Apple, 1985; Armbruster, 1985; Moyer and Mayer, 1985; McInerney, 1986; Rosenthal, 1984~. Science teachers are clearly satisfied with the quality of textbooks. In a national survey of science education, Weiss (1987) asked several specific questions about the quality of science textbooks. Some of the items that received favorable ratings by a majority of respondents are the following: · Have appropriate reading level (87%~. Are interesting to students (52%~. Are clear and well organized (85%~. Develop problem-solving skills (61%~. Explain concepts clearly (74%~. · Have good suggestions for activities and assignments (74%~. Why are the teachers satisfied? The textbooks are meeting teachers' needs and their conceptions of good biology and appropriate biology edu- cation. The problem here is similar to that of the biology student who has misconceptions about the energetics of cells or the mechanisms of evolu- tion. The means of changing the misconceptions is likewise similar. There is need to challenge current concepts and introduce biology teachers to perceptions about textbooks that are counter to their own. Then, provide time, opportunities, and examples that allow teachers to reform their ideas. We may also have to consider the questions that probe beyond those asked in the survey. For instance, the material is clear and well orga- nized; but should we be teaching that material? Or, the textbooks develop problem-solving skills; but which problem-solving skills, and are they really developed? The problem of teacher satisfaction with textbooks is central to any reform of biology education.
170 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY Content and pedagogy are central to the textbook situation. One assessment of content is the copyright date of textbooks in use. Seventy- one percent of science classes in grades 10-12 use books with a copyright date before 1983, and 22% before 1980. So one dimension of the content problem is that the information is dated. Gould (1988) published "The Case of the Creeping Fox Terrier Clone," in which two themes were developed. One was the presentation of con- troversial issues, such as evolution, in textbooks. The second, and more important, was that textbooks in a given market, like tenth-grade biology, are very similar to one another. Gould did an informal review of biology textbooks and had this to say (1988, p. 19~: In book after book, the evolution section is virtually cloned. Almost all authom treat the same topics, usually in the same sequence, and often with illustrations changed only enough to avoid suits for plagiarism. Obviously, authors of textbooks are copying material on a massive scale and passing along to students illconsidered and virtually xeroxed versions with a rationale lost in the mists of time. At the end of the article, Gould remarked on the educational effect of cloning (p. 24~: [Textbook cloning] is the easy way out, a substitute for thinking and striving to improve. Somehow, I must believe~for it is essential to my notion of scholarshi~that good teaching requires fresh thought and genuine excitement and that rote copying can only indicate boredom and slipshod practice. A carelessly cloned work will not excite students, however pretty the pictures. As an antidote, we need only the most basic virtue of integnty~not only the usual, figurative meaning of honorable practice but the less familiar, literal definition of wholeness. We will not have great texts if authors cannot shape content but must senre a commercial master as one cog in an ultimately powerless consortium with other packaged. What about pedagogy? The design of textbooks supports the science teachers' increased use of lecture and decreased use of laboratory (Weiss, 1987~. One can imagine the situation getting worse, because the feedback within the system will continue to support the trend. More information is added to textbooks, but teachers have a fixed time to cover information. Fewer laboratory experiments are done, because more time is needed for lectures. Somehow, the cycle must be interrupted. Reforming the content and pedagogy of textbooks is a complicated and complex proposition. Who is in control? Authors? Publishers? State adoption committees? Curriculum developers? Administrators? Teachers? The fact is that all groups are in some control and to some degree con- trolled. Most of the feedback in the system tends to perpetuate the current situation. It will take the concerted efforts of those within the system to bring about change. How might this happen? We need only look back 30 years to find a historical example. Support for several innovative biology programs, such as those developed in the late 1950s and 1960s, could bring
TEACHING HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY 171 about some change. Those programs incorporated the best scientists and teachers in the design of new textbooks. The original development and field-testing of materials was heavily supported and unencumbered by re- straints of the market, adoption committees, and administrative budgets. The science-education community united to develop innovative programs; then the market adapted. What should we do differently in the 1980s? First, I think several different groups should be developing biology programs. While the Bi- ological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) was successful in developing three programs, I think there is need for even more diversity. Second, the projects should be funded by both private and public sources. The reasons for this are to encourage greater diversity and innovation of pro- grams and to provide enough funding for significant innovation, such as the integration of technology (educational software), and major field-testing of the programs. Third, only publishers that are willing to give control of content and pedagogy to the developers should be involved in the projects, and those publishers should be involved throughout the development pro- cess. Fourth, development should include implementation of the program. Finally, teacher education at the preservice level should be integral to development and implementation of the new programs. TECHNOLOGY The use of educational technology has great potential for improving instruction in biology. According to Weiss (1978), computer use increases with grade levels, with approximately 36% of science classes in grades 10- 12 using computers. Although the amount of time computers are used is small, at grades 10-12 computers are used primarily for drill and practice, for simulations, for learning content, and as laboratory tools (Weiss, 1987~. In contrast to 1977, the 1985-1986 national survey indicated that computers are a part of science education. I assume that the trend toward increased use of computers will continue. Among the justifications for greater use of computers are the demands of an increasingly information-oriented and technological society and use of computers in the workplace (Ellis, 1984~. There have not been sufficient quantities of good software and afford- able hardware for computers to have a widespread impact on curriculum and instruction in biology. Individual pieces of software are used as sup- plements to instruction. But the occasional application of a tutorial or simulation is not enough to bring about the reformation of thinking re- quired to incorporate computer technologies fully into the biology program. As hardware and software evolve, there is reason to believe that they will become integral components of biology education (R. Tinker, unpublished manuscript).
172 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY There are three types of software that have immediate and important implications for instruction in biology: HyperCard, microcomputer-based laboratories, and modeling. Hypercard Textbooks have reached the point of diminishing returns relative to the amount of information they can reasonably contain for high-school biology. HyperCard is an educational technology that has relevance for the problem of teaching students how to ask questions and get information on selected subjects. They can simply view the information that someone else has organized, or they can "collect" information and organize it in a notebook (Kaehler, 1988~. Biology teachers are concerned that students must "learn" information that teachers do not have time to teach. HyperCard allows the students to gain access to information when they need it, to the depth that they want. Microcomputer-Based Laboratory (MB L) MBLs permit the acquisition of data in the laboratory through probes and sensors linked with a computer. This educational application was pioneered by Robert Tinker at Technical Education Research Centers. Data types that might be used in biology instruction include temperature, sound, light, pressure, distance measurement, electrical measurements (such as resistance and voltage), and physiological measurements (such as heart rate, blood pressure, and electrodermal activity). MBL offers extensions of many current laboratories in biology educa- tion. It has several educational advantages, such as immediate feedback for students, capability for long-term collection of data, and easy construc- tion of graphs for display of data. There is little reason not to use this technology in biology instruction. Models and Simulations Modeling tools are available in software packages that assist students in quantitative assessment. STELLA is the archetype of this software (Tin- ker, unpublished manuscript). Modeling applies very nicely to such subjects as population growth, resource depletion, and environmental degradation. Simulations provide students with opportunities to try ideas, change vari- ables, and run hypothetical experiments. Computer technology affords the opportunity for students to investigate topics that they ordinarily could not study.
TEACHING HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY 173 TEACHING My discussion of teaching is divided into two sections. The first concerns the laboratory and the second argues for a more systematic approach to instruction. The 1985-1986 national survey indicated that since 1977, science teachers have increased the amount of time in lecture and decreased the time in laboratory activities (Weiss, 1987~. There is a need to renew and expand the emphasis on the laboratory and inquiry strategies (Costenson and Lawson, 1987~. Human Ecology and the Biology Laboratory Human ecology is the conceptual orientation that I recommend for the biology laboratory (Bybee, 1984, 1987~. Human ecology as a specific approach to the laboratory is described in Bybee et al. (1981~. The fol- lowing are characteristics of a laboratory program with a human ecological approach. The characteristics describe an orientation and direction for the science laboratory. Bible 1 compares traditional and human ecological approaches to the science laboratory. Study of Significant Problems Laboratory activities will be related to problems in the human environ- ment. Problems arise from situations that involve a question, discrepancy, or decision concerning the student, society, or the environment. Investi- gations should be selected that provide opportunities for students to help to define problems significant to them problems that they think they can and are willing to help to solve (Bybee et al., 1980~. Investigations should be oriented toward ways of acquiring information and using that informa- tion in making decisions about current personal and social problems. The following subjects could form the basis for study: world hunger and food resources, population growth, air quality and atmosphere, water resources, war technology, human health and disease, energy shortages, land use, hazardous substances, nuclear reactors, extinction of plants and animals, and mineral resources. The selection of subjects is based on surveys of dif- ferent populations, including American citizens (Bybee, 1984) and science educators in other countries (Bybee, 1987~. Study of Ecosystems An instructional orientation toward the ecosystem is appropriate. Of necessity, biology teachers will have to include other levels of biological organization, but students can experience and understand many changes in ecosystems, especially as they study them at local levels.
174 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY TABLE 1 Comparison of Traditional and Human Eco10g~cal Approaches to Science Laboratory Traditional Laboratory Approach Human Ecological Approach Students verify knowledge presented in textbook. Problems are within a single scientific discipline. Problems have a single cause- effect relationship. A conclusion based on the data is a major component of the activity. Students use reductive methods. The laboratory is primarily a classroom-based activity. Ethics and values are not generally included. Experience is related to the abstract world of science. Problems are easily defined and predictable. Scientific concepts are studied as the Structure of a discipline. Laboratory work is presented as short-term accumulation of data and the scientific process. Students study problems involving scientific concepts and skills. Problems require an integration of disciplines. Problems are multicausal. An interpretation of data leading to a decision is a major component of the activity. Students use reductive and holistic methods. The laboratory is classroom-, school-, and community-based. Ethics and values are part of the decision-making process. Experience is related to the concrete world of the student. Problems have undefined dimensions and unpredictable results. Scientific concepts are studied in the resolution of science-related social issues. Laboratory work is presented as both short- and long-term accumulation of data and the scientific process. An ecosystems perspective is a good way to integrate various disci- plines; it provides a common conceptual framework and language. The perspective could be introduced early in the biology program and thus provide concepts and terminology for the students' continuing study. Holistic Methods of Study Ecologists use holistic perspectives in scientific inquiry. Holistic meth- ods can develop the students' ability to identify various interacting parts of systems (subsystems) and to understand the behavior of whole systems. Holistic methods of study are complementary to reductionistic methods, and students should experience the appropriate application and unique strengths of these methods. Integrative Study Biology education has held as important goals the development of and
TEACHING HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY 175 the ability to use biological concepts and methods of biological investigation. An orientation toward human ecology expands these goals in an effort to understand and resolve human problems. Human ecology provides experience in decision-making as a means to help students contribute to the eventual amelioration of problems. Decision-making implies some understanding of the social, political, and economic realms, as well as ethics and values. The primary emphasis of biology education programs should be on the concepts and processes of biology and biological investigation. A secondary emphasis is on the application of other disciplines in the cause of understanding and resolving problems. Development and Learning Instruction reflecting a human ecological approach should reflect an understanding of students as learners. Obviously, a global perspective of problems related to such issues as population growth or food resources is beyond the grasp of younger children. But local problems and some basic concepts such as the difference between arithmetic growth and exponential growth are not too complex for young children. Successful laboratory instruction in human ecology requires recognition of students' cognitive development and learning limitations. Perspectives of Space, Time, and Causal Relations Laboratory experiences should expand students' perspectives of space, time, and causal relations. Over the school years, students should extend their ideas of space from local to regional to national to global perspec- tives. Their ideas of time should extend to the distant past and to the future. Causal relations should extend from simple cause and effect to the complexities of interrelated and interdependent systems with multiple causal relations. In the end, we are trying to develop students with a global perspective who recognize complex interdependences and consider the future of humanibr. It is time to place the laboratory back in biology instruction. The justifications for laboratory experience far outweigh the excuses for lecture and discussion (Costenson and Lawson, 1987; Mullis and Jenkins, 1988~. An Instructional Model One of the major problems in biology education is the need for instruc- tion that integrates textbooks, technology, and laboratory experiences. The instructional model proposed here is based on a constructivist approach and has five phases: engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration, and evaluation. The model includes structural elements in common with
176 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY the original learning cycle used in the Science Curriculum Improvement Study (SCIS) program (Atkin and Karplus, 1962) and later discussions and research on the SCIS model (Renner, 1986; Lawson, 1988~. The five phases may be summarized as follows: Engagement This phase of the model initiates the learning task. The activity should (1) make connections between past and present learning experiences and (2) anticipate activities and focus students' thinking on the learning out- comes of current activities. The student should become mentally engaged in the concept, process, or skill to be explored. Exploration This phase of the model provides students with a common base of ex- perience within which they identify and develop current concepts, processes, and skills. During this phase, students actively explore their environment or manipulate materials. Explanation This phase of the model focuses students' attention on a particular aspect of their engagement and exploration experiences and provides op- portunities for them to verbalize their conceptual understanding or demon- strate their skills or behaviors. This phase also provides opportunities for teachers to introduce a formal label or definition for a concept, process, skill, or behavior. Elaboration This phase of the model challenges and extends students' conceptual understanding and allows further opportunity for students to practice de- sired skills and behaviors. Through new experiences, the students develop deeper and broader understanding, more information, and adequate skills. Evaluation This phase of the model encourages students to assess their under- standing and abilities and provides opportunities for teachers to evaluate student progress toward achieving the educational objectives.
TEACHING HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY 177 REFERENCES AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). 1985. Science Books and Films, 20~5~. Apple, M. 1985. Making knowledge legitimate: Power, profit, and the textbook. In Current Thought on Curriculum. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Armbruster, B. 1985. Readability formulations may be dangerous to your textbooks. Educ. Leader. 42~7~:18-20. Atkin, M., and R. Karplus. 1962. Discovery or invention. Sci. Teach. 29: 45-51. Bybee, R. 1984. Human ecology: A perspective for biology education. Monograph Series II. Reston, Va.: National Association of Biology Teachers. Bybee, R. 1987. Human ecology and teaching. New frantic in hi~oov trichina IJNF.~CO 5:145-155. Bybee, R., N. Harms, B. Ward, and R. Yager. 1980. Science, society, and science education. Sci. Educ. 64:377-395. Bybee, R., P. Hurd, J. Kahle, and R. Yager. 1981. Human ecology: An approach to the science laboratory. Amer. Biol. Teach. 43:304-311. Carter, J. 1987. Who determines textbook content? J. Call. Sci. Teach. 16: 425, 464-468. Commission on Work, Family, and Citizenship. 1988. The Forgotten Half: Non-College Youth in America. Washington, D.C.: William T. Grant Foundation. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 290 822) Costenson, K., and A. Lawson. 1987. Why isn't inquiry used in more classrooms? Amer. Biol. Teach. 48:150-158. Ehrlich, P. 1985. Human ecology for introductory biology courses: An overview. Amer. Zool. 24:379-394. Ellis, J. 1984. A rationale for using computers in science education. Amer. Biol. Teach. 64:200-206. Gould, S. J. January 1988. The case of the creeping fox terrier clone. Or why Henry Fairfield Osborn's ghost continues to reappear in our high schools. Nat. Hist. 19-24. Hodgkinson, H. 1985. All One System. Washington, D.C.: Institute for Educational Leadership, Inc. Kaehler, C. 1988. HyperCard power: Techniques and scripts. Menlo Park, Calif.: Addison Wesley Publishing Company. Koshland, D. 1988. For whom the bell tolls. Science 241:1405. Lawson, A. 1988. A better way to teach biology. Amer. Biol. Teach. 50: 266-278. McInerney, J. 1986. Biology textbooks. Whose business? Amer. Biol. Teach. 48:396-400. Moore, J. 1985. Science as a way of knowing. Human ecology. Amer. Zool. 25:483-637. Moyer, W., and W. Mayer. 1985. A consumer's guide to biology textbooks. Washington, D.C.: People for the American Way. Mullis, I., and L. Jenkins. 1988. The Science Report Card: Elements of Risk and Recovery. Princeton, N.J.: Educational Testing Service. Muther, C. 1987. What do we teach, and when do we teach it? Educ. Leader. 23:77-80. Renner, J. 1986. The sequencing of learning cycle activities in high school chemistry. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 23:121-143. Rosenthal, D. 1984. Social issues in high school biology textbooks: 1963-1983. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 21:819-831. Rosenthal, D., and R. W. Bybee. 1987. Emergence of the biology curriculum: A science of life or a science of living? pp. 123-144. In T. Popkowitz, Ed. The Formation of School Subjects. New York: Falmer Press. Rosenthal, D., and R. W. Bybee. 1988. High school biology: The early years. Amer. Biol. Teach. 50:345-347. Weiss, I. 1978. Report of the 1977 National Survey of Science, Mathematics, and Social Studies Education. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Weiss, I. 1987. Report of the 1985-86 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education. Research Triangle Park, N.C.: Research Triangle Institute. ~ ~ ~-~ e. ~e~
an A New Kind of Museum of Natural History as an Instrument of Informal High-Schoo} Education in Biology E. KAY DAVIS Traditional museums of natural history have long played a public role in the informal education of high-school students of biology. This Important function of museums has been shared with numerous other types of institutions, such as zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, national park projects, and public television production facilities. Doubtless we can agree that all these institutions have made significant contributions to high-school education in biology, both by generally stimulating students' interest in biological science and often by permitting a measure of on-the-scene study and participation in the biological world. In today's world, however, young people of high-school age have reached new levels of sophistication with respect to what can attract and hold their attention. Educational attractions must now vie with theme parks, with elegant electronics, and with an endless variety of film and television entertainment for the attention of young minds. In order to compete successfully for the time and attention of young people of today and of tomorrow, the institutions of informal education, it seems, are necessarily compelled to rethink, revise, and revitalize their programs. Yesterday's museums of natural history, for example, were conceived essentially to house and display collections. And at the turn of the last E. Kay Davis selves as executive director of Fernbank, Inc., in Atlanta and directs a $35 million project to build a museum of natural history. She has a B.A. in biology, an M.A. in science education, and a Ph.D. in administration. 178
A NEW KIND OF MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 179 century, that concept made sense: the early museums of natural history allowed the public to see reproductions of animal and plant life that were quite exotic and completely unavailable to most of the public through other media. Today's museums and especially tomorrow's-cannot, I contend, be based primarily on collections of artifacts. Instead, they must be founded on the concept of delivering information and on offering that information packaged in the most effective and attractive ways. The Fernbank Museum of Natural History, a new $35 million project just under way in Atlanta, has been conceived expressly to meet these new requirements. Intended to be a museum for the coming century, this project is being designed from the ground up to be a formidable instrument of public education. It is designed with an interesting, definite, coherent story to tell and everybody loves a good story. Furthermore, it is designed to tell that story with state-of-the-art exhibition techniques and with the flair that has come to be expected of modern entertainment. ~ illustrate how we at Fernbank are suggesting that museums of to- morrow may serve the needs of informal high-school education in biological sciences, let me outline briefly some of the major thrusts of this specific museum. First, the Fernbank Museum is oriented around a central theme exhibit entitled "A Walk Through Time in Georgia." A story line of the 30,000- square-foot exhibit encompasses nothing less than the natural history of the Earth from the "Big Bang" to the present and even into the future. Because Georgia happens to enjoy such an unusually varied array of environments-mountains, plateaus, coastal plains, swamps, marshes, and off-shore islands it is feasible to consider the natural history of the Earth by focusing on Georgia as a microcosm of the Earth. In this way, the museum visitors not only are acquainted with the story of the Earth's natural history, but are specifically acquainted with their immediate environment and how it got to be that way. In the case of schoolchildren, this format serves not only to acquaint them with the natural history of the Earth and of their immediate envi- ronment, but also to engender in them an appreciation of the biological, geological, and physical worlds around them and how they got to be that wa~worlds that they can explore and examine in the course of their daily lives. The "Wale Through Time in Georgia" does not, of course, consider only the biological aspects of the Earth's natural history. It is important that museum visitor recognize, for example, the intricate relationships between the geological history of the Earth or of a specific region and the biological development of life there. To that end, the story of natural history is presented so that the biological perspectives of the story mesh and blend in with the broader story
180 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY that includes astronomy, paleontology, geology, archaeology, anthropology, and the physical sciences. Thus, students of biology who visit the museum are given a broad vision of how their formal studies of life on Earth are consistent and interwoven with what is known from other disciplines that they are studying or will study. Part of the "Wale Through Time in Georgia" concentrates on several geophysical regions of present-day Georgia. In the exhibits that make up this section, the museum visitor is urged to find evidence in today's landscapes that corroborate the natural history that has been elaborated in the chronological sequences. Fossils, rocks, minerals, and geological strata, for example, are made available to be "discovered," providing "clues" to the story that scientists have pieced together. Another feature found throughout the theme exhibit is a liberal sprin- kling of exhibit subsets that pose the question "How do we know?" and then help in answering it. For instance, the purported ages of rocks are supported by small exhibits that demonstrate and explain dating methods using radioactive decay of long-lived isotopes or, for more recent artifacts of native American cultures, the techniques of radiocarbon dating. Thus, the theme exhibit not only presents our present understanding of natu- ral history, but shows why and to what extent we are confident of our knowledge. Perhaps more important, visitors are encouraged to discover for them- selves many of the important relationships between today's built world and its natural history. The theme exhibit at Fernbank extends the traditional role of museums of natural history by proceeding beyond the present into the future-and not showing the visitor just another "Buck Rogers" vision of how the world might be some time hence. Indeed, the first part of this section is a presentation called "The History of the Future," in which visitors are reminded that, although humans find themselves compelled to contemplate the future, we have never been especially accurate at prognostication. The visitor is asked to consider what has been learned in the museum about the development of humankind in the context of natural history and to focus that new knowledge on how it may help us in making more intelligent decisions and choices for the future. This major section of the theme exhibit, entitled "The City and the Future," assumes that humankind represents a pinnacle of natural history and that the archetypal human habitat, the city, is a reasonable setting in which to celebrate human achievement. Taking the position that human achievements including technological, cultural, and even artistic achievements are part of natural history is far from traditional in the museum world. We feel that, with this point of view, modern museums of natural history may appropriately include components
A NEW KIND OF MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 181 of technology and art an innovation that we hope will broaden the scope of museums of natural history and increase their attractiveness to the public. In "The City and the Future," museum visitors are acquainted with modern decision-making aids, such as computer simulations of complex systems. While learning about and interacting with a computer simulation of an urban complex, visitors are introduced to several important concepts. First, they are made aware of the fundamental lesson that the human mind cannot keep track of all the intricacies of a truly complex system and consequently that humans are prone to make well-intentioned, intuitive decisions that often turn out to be counterproductive. Another important lesson that is emphasized by the computer simula- tion is that no decision for a very complex system like a city comes about without costs, either in resources or in the quality of life; thus, we are usu- ally faced not with answers, but with tradeoff choices between alternative scenarios. It is hoped that the museum experience will provide our visitors a clearer understanding of the environment-of what affects it and how. It is further hoped that the museum experience will help our visitors to participate more intelligently in the decision-making processes of which we are all a part. In other words, a museum of natural history may, as part of its informal educational functions, serve a public role in fostering more responsible citizenship. Apart from the central theme exhibit of the Fernbank Museum, there are further components of the museum that serve exciting roles in informal education. For very young children, there is a Discovery Room, a large area shaped like Georgia. This section both foreshadows and echoes many of the themes that are presented in the "Wale Through Time in Georgia." In the exhibit, small children are provided with "ranger packs" and permitted to slide down Georgia's rivers, hunt fossils and minerals in the mountains, and splash around the swamps and seashores of their state. There are additional major areas for older children, too. Fostering the natural inquisitiveness and inclination toward hands-on participation of high-school students is a role that museums may undertake effectively if the students can be allowed to participate in personal study and research projects that have been generally unavailable to them in museums of the past. At the Fernbank Museum, a spacious area called the Naturalists' Cen- ter is provided to engender participation. The students-adult amateurs, tonsure encouraged to use this modern laboratory-library to conduct their own research. They may bring their own specimens-animals, plants, rocks, insects, fossils, minerals, whatever-for identification, investigation, and study. The amateurs are provided the use of modern, sophisticated, technical instru- mentation, available under the supervision of trained staff when required. The amateurs are also provided with a research library, again with
182 HIGH-SCH~L BIOLOGY appropriate personnel to provide assistance in finding out more and more information about their own interests. The Naturalists' Center is an attrac- tion that is expected to bring youngsters back to the museum again and again, making the museum a comfortable and productive part of their lives and nurturing their own inclinations toward research. Considerable space in the Fernbank Museum is reserved for temporary exhibits as they become available for display. The first scheduled exhibit is, for example, the Smithsonian's "Tropical Rainforests: A Disappear- ing pleasure." Raveling exhibits of this magnitude have heretofore been virtually unavailable to us in the Southeast, because of lack of sufficient exhibition space. Another attraction, intended to give visitors yet more reasons to make repeated visits to the museum, is the IMAX movie theater, which incor- porates a 3-sto~y-tall cinema screen. In this setting, the viewer is engulfed by the projected scenes and feels a sensation of having been thrust into the midst of the action. The professionally produced IMAX films are of exceptional quality, are to be changed on a regular schedule, and are based on appropriate topics for a museum of natural history, ranging from astronautical adventures to thrilling undersea explorations. Because public education is the primary purpose of a museum of natural history, Fernbank proposes to incorporate an intensive educational program under the direction of a curator of education. The range of courses that have been organized fall, perhaps, into a category more like "semiformal" education. Aside from the customary lectures and seminars that are traditional in museums, the Fernbank museum has organized several sequences of courses and minicourses for the public, for high-school students, and for elementary-school and high-school teachers. By coordinating the museum's course offerings with the area school systems, it will be possible to have classes of high-school students of biology and earth sciences bussed to the museum for minicourses of relatively short duration. Other, more extended courses, lasting as long as 12 weeks, have been devised for specially selected students. In these courses, the students will be housed dormitory-style in buildings that are on Fernbank property adjacent to the museum. These courses, already designed, are based on the subject material of the theme exhibit of the museum and will feature field trips to all the major geophysical regions of Georgia at appropriate points in the curriculum. The Fernbank Museum of Natural History expects to achieve con- siderable leverage in its educational goals by offering specialized courses, again already designed, for both elementary-school and high-school teach- ers throughout Georgia. These courses, now being approved by the state school system, will afford the teachers graduate credit toward certification
A NEW KIND OF MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 183 advancement. By becoming familiar with the story of natural history as pre- sented in the museum, teachers will be extraordinarily prepared to serve as guides and "talking heads" when their classes visit the museum. It is further hoped that the same teachers will be inspired to serve as statewide "evangelists" of the museum's story and of its informal educational oppor- tunities. In all aspects of the exhibit program of the new museum, every effort has been made to present the story of natural history using state-of-the-art exhibition techniques. Every effort has been made to make the visitor's museum experience one that is rich in information, beauty, and fun. Young people will find their visits to this new kind of museum an appealing and repeatedly attractive learning experience that will supplement and amplify their formal education throughout their high-school education and beyond.
21 Messing About in Science: Participation, Not Memorization CANDACE L. JULYAN INTRODUCTION Consider how you first became interested in science. For many people, that interest grew from a cunosi~ about a particular phenomenon or organism. Satisfying the curiosity, or what David Hawkins (1978) calls "messing about," often resulted in some type of relatively unstructured exploration led by one's own questions, rather than the questions of others. Unfortunately, messing about is not a common practice in many science classrooms today. Students are more likely to be introduced to organisms and phenomena through text-based lectures than by making sense of their own observations. The result of our current science curricula is not only a lack of interest in science as a profession, but also a lack of scientific understanding. The purpose of this paper is to encourage a consideration of the pos- sibilities of instructional materials that allow students to explore science through projects, rather than texts. While this approach to biology ed- ucation may differ dramatically from the current practice, I believe that it moves students closer to the experience of science and potentially may offer a deeper understanding of the topics of study. This belief is based Candace L. Julyan is the manager of curriculum and training for the National Geographic Kids Network, a National Science Foundation-funded science curriculum developed at Technical Ed- ucation Research Centers, Cambridge, Massachusetts. She received a doctorate from Harvard University, and her research has focused on high-school students' understanding of leaves chang- ing color. 184
MESSING ABOUT IN SCIENCE 185 on both research and practice: research about how students make sense of science topics and practice as seen in field tests of a new set of instructional materials under development. Although Audrey Champagne has already addressed this area of research, I would like to return to that topic briefly to connect our growing knowledge of students' understanding of science topics with appropriate design for instructional materials. RESEARCH ON STUDENT LEARNING In the last decade, educational researchers have introduced new data about how students explain science topics to themselves. Studies based on interviews and teaching situations, rather than tests, encompass a range of topics, such as weight and density (Smith, 1985; Duckworth, 1986), heat and temperature (Smith, 1985), gravity (Stead and Osborne, 1981; Gunstone and White, 1981), light (Stead and Osborne, 1980; Anderson and Smith, 1983), energy (Brook and Driver, 1984), complex systems (Duckworth et al., 1985), and plants (Bell and Brook, 1984; Julyan, 1988~. These studies present surprising information about students' preconceptions about how the world works. Although the methods differ, the data suggest that these ideas, referred to by some as "misconceptions," form a basic structure of knowledge that either helps or hinders an individual's ability to make sense of the material presented in the classroom. In addition, these studies suggest that a student's initial beliefs are remarkably resilient and are not erased when a teacher presents new information that might challenge those beliefs. This is an important point to keep in mind: Students do not learn simply by being told. If correct, how might this supposition affect the work of a science classroom? Osborne and Gilbert (1980) contend that many students merge their erroneous thoughts with the words presented in science class, resulting in continued misconceptions that are now misidentified with a scientific term. These authors believe that by ignoring the ideas that students have before science instruction the teacher may inadvertently continue to support these incorrect notions. A second concern that is raised by this supposition Is that the work of the science classroom cannot rely on lecture- and text-based activities if students are to understand the subject matter. Futhermore, data from several of these studies (Bell and Brook, 1984; Duckworth, 1986; Julyan, 1988) suggest that knowing correct terms does not help students to make sense of their observations. In fact, in many cases, scientific terms may be used to mask confusion. Knowing words does not constitute understanding. While I am certainly not suggesting a classroom ban on scientific terms, I do suggest that we reconsider their importance. The difference between memorizing vocabulary words related to science topics and understanding
186 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY various phenomena is considerable. Certainly those of us involved in science and science education realize the difference and are striving for the latter. Science-as-vocabulary requires less effort on the part of both the teacher and the student, but it also provides fewer rewards. Students, I believe, are also aware of the difference; and if given the choice, they too would strive for understanding. This point was highlighted for me several years ago by a high-school student who was participating in a research study on how students make sense of a complex system (Duckworth et al., 1985~. ~ examine this question, my colleagues and I had devised a number of experiments featuring helium balloons weighted with enough strands of string so that the string dragged on the floor. The students' task was to explain why the balloon's position in the air changed as they did various tasks such as tying knots in the string, cutting the string, putting the balloon on a table, etc. After several weeks of experimenting, the balloons continued to sur- prise one student whose frustration with her lack of understanding was often visible. One day, she turned to me demanding to know whether I intended to tell her `'the answer." When I asked her to state the question, she seemed momentarily stumped, but then stated that she wanted to know why the balloon behaved in the way that it did in all the various experiments that she had conducted. While certainly willing to answer her question, I stated that I wanted to be clear about what she wanted. Did she want words that explained the phenomenon or did she want to understand it herself. There was a long and poignant silence in the room. Finally, she turned and quietly said that the words were not what she wanted; she really wanted to understand. While most students might not articulate the dilemma as clearly as this student, many share her desire to understand, not just to know the correct words. One way to promote both understanding and the value of scientific terms is to give students an opportunity to mess about in their science classes, to become participants in constructing their knowledge. Inquiry-based activities are certainly not the fastest way to approach science learning. A faster and more "efficient" approach is text-based, lecture-based classes. This approach, which is certainly the predominant approach in science classes today, is not terribly effective, as indicated in the numerous reports about science education and the low enrollment in science classes. Change is definitely needed. Let me turn now to a curriculum that offers this type of change. A NEW lYPE OF SCIENCE CURRICULUM While the importance of inquiry in the science classroom is certainly not a new idea, my colleagues and I at Technical Education Research
MESSING ABOUT IN SCIENCE 187 Centers (TERC) are developing a curriculum that has a new commitment to the notion of inquiry. Because its operating premise about what is possible in a science classroom is unusual, I offer it as an example of an unconventional approach to instructional materials worth noting. The basic premise of this curriculum, the National Geographic Kids Network, is that students can and should be scientists, that they can and should converse with real scientists about their work and that computers can enhance this enterprise. Students, therefore, conduct experiments, analyze data, and share their results with student colleagues using a simple computer-based telecommunication network. This collection and making sense of data gives these students an opportunity to experience the excitement of science that scientists feel. We are just beginning the third of 4 years of this National Science Foundation-funded project, which represents a partnership between TERC and the National Geographic Society (NGS). TERC is developing the curriculum and software for the project; NGS will publish and distribute the final product. The full curriculum, designed for upper elementary school, grades 4 through 6, will consist of a number of 6-week units, which are intended to supplement the regular curriculum. Each unit focuses on an environmentally oriented topic, such as acid rain, land use, or water quality. Students begin their study by examining the topic in the context of their local community and then exploring it within the larger national picture. Each unit involves the collection of some type of data (survey or measurement), sharing those data through a telecommunication network with other classes collecting the same data, and finally making sense of those data. These data are examined by both student colleagues and a unit scientist, a professional with expertise in the unit topic. The computer gives students a number of tools to help with the data collection and analysis: a word processor, a record-keeping data section, a graphing utility, a complete telecommunication package, and map software with data overlay. This software component of the project is both simple and powerful. The Kids Network is more, however, than powerful software; it is a careful weaving of classroom activities and software tools. The following outline of the acid-rain unit illustrates the connection that exists between these two components of the project. Students begin this unit by learning how to use pH paper and how to build a rain collector. With this knowledge and equipment, they record the pH reading for each rainfall for the next several weeks. While waiting for the rain, they continue to explore pH through experiments that look at the effect of solutions of different pH on the growth of seeds and on a variety of nonliving objects. They also keep a weekly log of odometer readings from
188 HIGH-SCH~L BIOLOGY the family car and roughly calculate the amount of nitrogen oxide that they have introduced into the atmosphere as a family and as a class. Through letters, classes can share the findings from all these activities with others in the network These letters are sent, not to the thousands of schools in the network, but to their "cluster," a small group of 10-12 geographically dispersed classrooms. After several weeks, during which time one hopes there has been some rain, classes send their rain data to the network using the data-entry feature of the software. Those data are collected and sent back within a week. Students receive the network data, as well as a letter from the unit scientist. The data may come back as a data-entry form or as a map file with color-coded data from each site displayed. The letter from the unit scientist, in this case John Miller of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), helps students to put their data into the context of other data collected on acid rain. Next, students are asked to compare their readings with those of their fellow cluster classes and to examine patterns in the network data. Again, a flurry of letters to fellow scientists takes place, asking for clarification about surprises or validation of theories. The unit ends with a look at the social significance of the data. Students examine two very different positions on what to do with the information gathered. Each position, seemingly written by a student-colleague on the network, addresses the impact of decisions about acid rain-e.g., a loss of jobs for factory-working parents or serious reduction of fish in a local pond. Students are encouraged to discuss these positions, take a class vote for no action without further research or for both immediate action and further research, and send the results to the network. WHAT MIGHT THIS CURRICULUM DESIGN SUGGEST? The Kids Network has generated an enthusiastic response on the part of both teachers and students. As one teacher explained, it "is an awesome concept, a truly revolutionary idea for education at a time when it is so badly needed." We have completed the design of two units and have tested these preliminary materials in 200 classrooms across the United States and in a handful of foreign sites, including Canada, Argentina, Hong Kong, and Israel. Data from our formal evaluation, which included both observations and questionnaires, and the flood of unsolicited narratives received from teachers through phone calls and letters suggest that teachers and students found this curriculum to be a lively and appealing way to approach science. Despite the elementary focus of these materials, there are a number of ideas or issues that are applicable to the high-school curriculum. I propose these ideas in the form of questions. While all the questions represent ideas around which the Kids Network has been designed, they also provide a
MESSING ABOUT IN SCIENCE 189 framework for examining aspects of this project that may provide new ideas for those interested in high-school biology curricula. After briefly noting examples of the ways in which our curriculum addresses each question, I will suggest areas of consideration that these questions raise for instructional materials. Can Data Collection and Analysis Provide an Effective Backbone Around Which to Study Science? Teachers and evaluators reported numerous examples of scientific thinking generated by the simple act of collecting and making sense of data. For example, in the "hello" unit, students were collecting data about the kinds of pets that each student cared for. Many classes found that defining their terms, in this case what constituted a pet, was quite compli- cated. In one class, the discussion revolved around a debate as to whether an ant farm should be considered a pet. The class finally decided that a pet had to share the same environment with its owner. Therefore, they decided that an ant farm was not a pet, as it was in a sealed container; but fish were pets, as they lived in water from a faucet. Although you may argue with their decisions, I think that you can see that the students did exhibit scientific thinking as they tried to resolve their question. Another example of the type of scientific understanding that data col- lection generated came from a fourth-grade class. These students realized that, although their data and those of their cluster school were both about pets, they could not compare data. One class had recorded the number of students who owned each kind of pet; the other had recorded the number of each kind of pet. The class learned a great deal about the importance of comparable data, a concept that many high-school students might find difficult. Can Inqu~ Based Instruction Help a Larger Proportion of Students to Feel Confident About Their Ability to Understand Science? This question was addressed in several ways. Many teachers reported that students were motivated and eager to participate in the curriculum activities, even, or perhaps especially, students who rarely participated in science class. One teacher told the story of a "low-ability" student who gained enormous credibility in class when he proposed his idea about the wide discrepancy between the over 120 pets owned by his Auburn, Maine, class and the fewer than 25 pets owned by a cluster class in New Orleans. While other students had explained the difference as something related to the weather or the availability of pets in Louisiana stores, this student thought that perhaps the school was located in an area surrounded by
190 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY government housing. He explained that pets were not allowed in this type of housing. This simple piece of information from a fellow student, not the teacher or a textbook, helped students to make sense of the data and generated a letter to find out whether this student's theory was correct. As you might imagine, his idea also increased the student's credibility with his peers, his teacher, and perhaps himself. We received other reports of student self-esteem that are of a very dif- ferent nature. Teachers reported that students felt a real sense of ownership about their work. The most extreme examples came frown two teachers who reported that their classes, both filled with "average" and "below-average" students, protested on learning that their teacher was planning to present the Kids Network curriculum at professional conferences. The students argued that it was their work and that they should be the ones presenting. In one case, the teacher took the students with him; in the other, the students made an acetate filmstrip and accompanying audio tape that the teacher used in her presentation. Can Technology Enhance Inquiry in the Science Classroom? Bob Tinker (1988), the project's director, contends that "technology can bridge the gap between the conduct of science and the teaching of science." The Kids Network provides this bridge in several ways. First, by using microcomputers for computation, students are able to manipulate their findings in more sophisticated ways than their computational skills might have permitted otherwise. Second, with the power of telecommu- nication, students are able to share data and ideas with others from all over the country. This extension of the classroom provides a powerful motivation for many students. Lastly, telecommunication offers a unique and manageable opportunity for scientists to communicate with science classrooms. The technology expands these classrooms by eliminating the limitations of both time and distance that would otherwise restrict this type of communication. Can the Work of a Science Classroom Generate Community Interest? Kids Network classrooms were filled with visitors interested in the stu- dents' work. The list included principals, other teachers, superintendents, school-board members, parents, university professors and their students, and reporters from newspapers and television. These visitors were inter- ested in what the students were doing, in terms of both the telecommunica- tion activities with other schools and the data they were collecting. Adults were as interested in the data results as the students, particularly when the data were about a larger environmental concern, such as acid rain. This
MESSING ABOUT IN SCIENCE 191 type of interest provided a motivation for both teachers and students, who appreciated having an audience for their work. Can the Work of a Science Classroom be of Interest to the Scientific Community? A portion of my work on the curriculum component of this project is to find experiments appropriate for elementary-school students and useful to research scientists. This search has been one of the most challenging and delightful aspects of my job. The scientific community has been both supportive and enthusiastic. Many scientists have given hours of their time exploring the types of research that students might do that would offer valuable data to existing studies. John Miller, the deputy director of the acid-deposition unit of NOAA and our unit scientist for the acid-rain unit, is an excellent example of the type of support and enthusiasm that we have found. Dr. Miller corre- sponded throughout the unit with his elementary-school "colleagues" and has proposed that the Kids Network data be included as an appendix to the NOAA 1988 report on acid rain. In addition, he regularly discussed this project with his colleagues around the world. Perhaps the most surprising example of the serious interest that scientists have in student-collected data took place at the annual meeting of a United Nations steering committee concerned with the long-range transmission of air pollutants. As the United States representative to this group, Dr. Miller presented an overview of the various networks in North America that are concerned with acid rain. Within this context, he introduced his colleagues to the Kids Network project and was surprised to find that they expressed considerable interest in this network, wanting to know how students made the measurements and whether the data would be available for comparison with NOAA data. We have found that this level of interest has not been unusual. Scientists are interested in student measurements, particularly when the data cover a wide geographic area. CONCLUSION The first reports about the effectiveness of the Kids Network indicate that it generates considerable enthusiasm in both students and teachers and enlivens the science classroom. In times filled with grim reports about science education, this curriculum has sparked considerable hope. Our experience with elementary-school students has shown that the approach has great promise to change students' perception of science and of their abilities in the subject. It offers them a collective opportunity for messing about in science.
192 HIGH-SCHOOL BIOLOGY This same type of exploration is certainly possible for high-school classrooms and is worthy of further consideration. Instructional materials that center around the collection of data not only give students a more accurate picture of the scientific enterprise, but they also give students an opportunity to examine their personal ideas about the topic under study. In addition, if this type of investigation is linked to real environmental concerns, the students' work yields valuable community information and is not just an empty school assignment. Telecommunication is a new and exciting tool for the science class- room. It provides an easy way to connect the work of various classrooms and to help students to understand the larger scientific picture into which their experiments fit. One difficulty that many existing telecommunication networks report is that these connections die if there is no reason to com- municate (Carl Berger, University of Michigan, personal communication). Creating a network that revolves around the collection and analysis of data provides an important and engaging topic for conversation. While the telecommunication activities of the Kids Network curriculum are seemingly elaborate, classroom exchanges can be fairly simple and do not require either fancy software or equipment. All that is required is a worthwhile set of data to collect and an interest in sharing those data among classes as close together as the same town or as far apart as different coasts. Science teachers and curriculum developers may be surprised to discover the number of groups that would welcome this sort of low-cost data collection and would help with the necessary logistics. Finally, I would like to note that, while the technology of this curricu- lum suggests an exciting new resource for the classroom, the Kids Network suggests a very simple change for classrooms. This change, while enhanced by technology, does not require it. Messing about in science does not require fancy equipment, just an appreciation of the value in making sense of the many mysteries of life. Certainly that should be an important value for biology education. One high-school student involved in examining trees was pondering the difference between his biology class and his work in an inquiry-based study. "I don't know why we read about trees in science class. It seems stupid not to come outside and really study 'em. Don't ya think?" (Julyan, 1988~. I obviously agree, but hope that I have provoked the consideration of new possibilities that might exist in future high-school biology curricula. These possibilities could include materials that center around students collecting original data, students sharing those data with interested student colleagues, and teachers and scientists working together to help students to make sense of their findings. Materials that have these various foci would certainly differ from those in classrooms today~ifferences that might alter both biology education and perhaps biology itself. I am hopeful about the
MESSING ~0= IN SCIENCE 193 future of biology education, particularly if it encompasses these simple ideas. I believe that students and teachers are ready for a change. REFERENCES Anderson, C. W., and E. L. Smith. 1983. Childrens' Conception of light and Color Developing the Concept of Unseen Rays. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal. Bell, B. F., and A. Brook. 1984. Aspects of Secondary Students' Understanding of Plant Nutrition. Leeds, England: Center for Studies in Science and Mathematics Education, University of Leeds. Brook, As, and R. Driver. 1984. Aspects of Secondary Students' Understanding of Energy. Leeds, England: Center for Studies in Science and Mathematics Education, University of Leeds. Duckworth, E. 1986. Inventing Density. Grand Forks, N.D.: University of North Dakota Press. Duckworth, E., C. Julyan, and T. Rowe. 1985. A Study on Equilibrium: A Anal Report. Cambridge, Mass.: Educational Technology Center. Gunstone, R. F., and A. White. 1981. Understanding of gravity. Sci. Educ. 65~3~:291-299. Hawkins, D. 1978. Critical barriers to science learning. Outlook 29:3-23. Julyan, C. 1988. Understanding llees: Five Case Studies. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Harvard University. Osborne, R., and J. K. Gilbert. 1980. A method for investigation of concept understanding in science. Eur. J. Sci. Educ. 2:311-321. Smith, C. 1985. Student Conceptions of Heat and Temperature. Cambridge, Mass.: Educational Technology Center. Stead, K E., and R. Osborne. 1980. Exploring science students' concepts of light. Austral. Sci. Teach. J. 26~3~:51-57. Stead, K E., and R. Osborne. 1981. What is gravity? Some children's ideas. New Zealand Sci. Teach. 30:5-12. Tinker, R. F. 1988. Telecommunication and Science Education. Talk delivered at the AAAS conference, February 1988.