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science for Ail Children
Pro sect Sponsors National Science Foundation U.S. Department of Education Bayer Foundatior~ Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Inc. Digital Equipment Corporation The Dow Chemical Company Foundatior~ Hewlett-Packarcl Company This projects, in part, National Nation Opinions expr~~o~f the authors and not pieced-tl-~ Foundation '" '( ;''"' 2^'$ ') X :::~5:: This material is based upon work sup ported by the National Science Founda tion under Grant No. TPE-9153780. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this ma terial are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
science for At! children A Guicle to Improving Elementary Science Education in Your School District NATIONAL SCIENCE RESOURCES CENTER NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES · SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION NATIONAL AtADEMY PRESS Washington, DO 1997
National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20418 The views expressed in this book are solely those of its contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences or the Smith- sonian Institution. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Science for all children: a guide to improving science education in your school district / National Science Resources Center, National Academy of Sciences Lands Smithsonian Institution. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-309-05297-1 1. Science Study and teaching (Elementary)-United States. 2. Science-Study and teaching (Elementary) United States-Case studies. 3. Problem-based learning United States. 4. Problem- based learning United States Case studies. I. National Science Resources Center (U.S.) LB1585.3.S388 1996 372.3 5 04~dc20 9~33372 CIP Printed in the United States of America (I) 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced by any mechanical, photo- graphic, or electronic process, or in the form of a phonographic recording, nor may it be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or otherwise copied for public or private use without permission in writing from the publisher, except for the purposes of official use by the U.S. government. National Science Resources Center Arts and Industries Building Room 1201 Smithsonian Institution Washington, DC 20560 Douglas Lapp, Executive Director Sally Goetz Shuler, Deputy Director for Development, External Relations, and Outreach Evelyn M. Ernst, Information Dissemination Director Patricia K Freitag, Science and Technology for Children Project Director Dean Trackman, Publications Director Science for All Children Staff Marilyn Fenichel, Project Director Linda Harteker, Development Editor Cynthia Allen, Editor Max-Karl Winkler, Cover Illustration National Academy Press Sally Stanf~eld, Editorial Coordination Francesca Moghari, Art Director Linda C. Humphrey, Book Design
Contents Foreword Preface Acknowledgments Introduction Part ~ Building a Foundation for Change Chapter 1 The Value of Science Education /7 Chapter 2 How Children Learn / 2~ Chapter 3 Sharing the Vision of Exemplary Elementary Science / 32 Chapter 4 Planning for the New Elementary Science Program / 39 Pa" 2 The Nuts and Bolts of Change Chapter 5 Criteria for Selecting Inquiry-Centered Science Curriculum Materials / 63 Chapter 6 Professional Development for Inquiry-Centered Science /76 Chapter 7 Establishing a Science Materials Support Center /89 Chapter 8 Assessment Strategies for Inquiry-Centered Science / loo Chapter 9 Building Support for the Science Program / ~22 v vii ix xi 5 61
Contents Part 3 Inquiry-Centered Science in Practice Introduction / ~35 Montgomery County, Maryland / ~38 A Large Suburban School District Works to Build a Cadre of Effective Elementary Science Teachers Spokane, Washington / ~ 46 A City School District Struggles to Put the Pieces Together East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana / ~3 Corporate Partnership and an Emphasis on Strong Professional Development Spearhead Reform Efforts Cupertino, California / ~ ,8 A Small School District Builds a Strong Corporate Partnership Huntsville, Alabama / i6¢ A Univ~rsity-School Distal ct Partnership Creates a Mu ltidistrict Program Step fly Step Pasadena, California / ~ 7~ Pasadena Develops a Modelfor '[each~r-Scientist Partnerships San Francisco, California / ~ ~ A University Works Collaboratively with a City School District Green Bay, Wisconsin / ~84 The Einstein Project Builds a Science Program Through Community Partnerships Epilogue Notes Appendix A Professional Associations and U.S. Government Organizations Appendix B Exemplary Elementary Science Curriculum Materials Index Credits National Science Resources Center Advisory Board V1 133 191 193 196 214 216 222 224
Foreword r ~ ~ he National Science Education Standards was published recently by the National Research Coun- cil, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences anct the National Academy of Engineering. That consensus document, four years in the making, is designed to help the country reach an important national goal achieving scientific literacy for all stu- dents in the List century. As the Standards reminds us, "scientific literacy enables people to use scientific issues and processes in making personal decisions and to participate in discussions of sci- entific issues that affect society." The National Science Education Standards present a bold vi- s~on of a new science education system. They identify what high school graduates should understand and be able to do. They de- scribe conditions that schools must create to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn and all teachers have the opportunity to teach. They emphasize the importance of transforming schools into educational communities where students actively engage in sci- entific inquiry as a way to gain knowledge and an understanding of the world. And they stress the importance of schools and school sys- tems in which teachers are supported and empowered to make cle- cisions that are crucial for effective learning. In many school districts nationwide, scientists have assumed a key role in science education reform. Through partnerships with academic institutions and corporations, those scientists have as- sisted teachers behind the scenes and in the classroom. The Stan- dards envision an education system that invites a greatly increased involvement of scientists and other members of the community in constantly improving the system as a whole. vii
Foreword As school districts undertake the challenge of implementing the recommendations in the National Science Education Stan- dards, they can benefit by modeling their efforts on the extensive work the National Science Resources Center (NSRC) has done in reforming elementary science education in school districts across the nation. Science for All Children: A Guide to Improving Elementary Science Education in Your SchoolDistr~ct presents the NSRC's strategic planning model for bringing about districtwide elementary sci- ence reform. The NSRC has made many significant contributions to sci- ence education reform since its inception in 1985. In addition to developing the Science and Technology for Children program, an inquiry-centerecl science curriculum for grades 1 through 6, the NSRC has been active in other areas of science reform including . . ~ . . . . disseminating intormahon on science teaching resources, prepar- ing school district leaders to spearhead science education reform, and providing technical assistance to school districts. These pro- grams have had a significant impact on science education in many school districts throughout the country. The NSRC's sponsoring organizations, the National Academy of Sciences and the Smithsonian Institution, take great pride in the publication of this book. The transformation of science edu- cation in America to enable all children to achieve scientific liter- acy is a challenging task, and it will require strategic thinking throughout the next clecade. The well-tested plan of action con- tained in this book will help make this task easier, and it should be welcomed by all those interested in improving the science educa- tion of elementary school children. Bruce M. Alberts President National Academy of Sciences ... Vlll I. Michael Heyman Secretary Smithsonian Institution
Preface On behalf of the National Science Resources Center (NSRC), I am pleased to introduce readers to Science for All Children: A Guide to Improving Elementary Science Edu- cation in Your School Distal ct. This book is a flagship publication for the NSRC. It marks the first time that the NSRC's mode] for sci- ence education reform has been published en cl disseminated widely. The NSRC's model is based largely on experience gleaned from two primary sources. The first is the accomplishments of pi- oneering school districts that put effective elementary science pro- grams in place in the 1970s and 1980s; the second is the NSRC's own work with school districts through our Elementary Science Education Leadership Institute program. Through these efforts, we have learned that it is essential to view the science program as a cohesive system that includes the following key elements: a re- search-based, inquiry-centered science curriculum; professional development; materials support; appropriate assessment strate- gies; en cl community and administrative support. These elements must work together to create an interdependent system. The sys- tem can be moclifiecI to meet the needs of all kincis of school ctis- tricts large and small, urban and rural. To illustrate the moclel's flexibility, the book includes eight case studies showing how dif- ferent communities have adapted these elements to meet their specific needs. Through the development of the Science and Technology for Children curriculum, we have also learned much about the process school districts engage in as they undertake an extensive science education reform effort. Our field-testing program has - ix
Preface provided curriculum developers with numerous opportunities to visit school districts in the early stages of reform and to discuss with them the challenges they have encountered. This feedback en- abled us to significantly improve the quality of our science mod- ules. It also reminded us that reform is difficult and time-consum- ing. For this reason, school districts benefit enormously from the support of organizations like the NSRC. We have written this book for these and other school districts committee! to acting now to build an inquiry-centered science program. Experience has shown that while enthusiasm is often the initial catalyst, the school districts that are familiar with the issues surrounding reform move forward most effectively. This book pre- sents basic information about the philosophy underlying our re- form model, how to engage in a strategic planning process, and how to establish and maintain each critical element of the science program. Our hope is that school districts will find that the book helps them clefine an effective model for science education re- form and (develop a strategic plan to implement the model. The book also provides specific suggestions for overcoming challenges that may arise. This book is not intended to be a research document or an exhaustive summary of the literature. Its primary goal is to stimu- late change in the way elementary science is taught nationwide. Readers are encouraged to consult other publications, including those listed at the end of each chapter, that provide further details on particular aspects of science education reform. We would like to thank the NSRC's parent institutions, the National Academy of Sciences and the Smithsonian Institution, for their vision en cl support in helping the NSRC undertake this project. We look forward to hearing from users of the book about its effectiveness, along with any suggestions they may have for its improvement. Douglas Lapp Executive Director National Science Resources Center x
Achnowiedgments S cience for All Children has been a complex undertaking and a rewarding one. The National Science Resources Center (NSRC) would like to express its grantucle to the numerous federal agencies, private foundations, and corporations that supported this project. They include the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Department of Education, the Bayer Foundation, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foun- danon, Inc., the Dow Chemical Company, the Digital Equipment Corporation, and the Hewlett-Packard Company. The NSRC Advi- sory Board also provided guidance and direction for the project. Board members are listed at the end of the book. Work on ScaenceforAI! Children began in 1993, when the NSRC held a brainstorming meeting to conceptualize the publication, at that ome referred to as a Guide to Action. Many of the participants at that meeting were asked to submit white papers, which served as builcling blocks for this book. The efforts of these contributors, who are listed below, are gready appreciated. Judi Backman Math/Science Coordinator, Highline Public Schools, Seattle, Wash. L. 1. Benton Program Officer, National Science Resources Center, Washington, D. C. loYce Dutcher Instructional Coordinator; Fort Bend Independent SchoolDistrict, Sugar Land, Texas Xl Robert Fitch Senior Vice President (retiredJ, Research and Development, S.C. Johnson Wax, Racine, Wis. Mary Kelly Science Consultant K-6, Hinsdale School District, Hinsdale, III. Michael Klentschy Superintendent, El Centro School District, El Centro, Calif:
: Acknowledgments Richard McQueen Specialist, Scaence Education, Alpha High School, Gresham, Ore. Harold Pratt Director; Division of K-2 Policy and Practice, Center for Scaence, Mathematics, and En~nemng Education, National Research Councal, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D. C. Joseph Premo Scaence Consultant (retired), Minneapolis, Minn. Lawrence Small Scaence Coordinator (retired), Schaumburg School District, Schaumbur$ III. Susan Sprague Director; Scaence and Socaal Studies, Mesa Public Schools, Mesa, Adz. Emma Walton Program Director; Presidential Awards, National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va. Many NSRC staff members contributed to the writing of this publication, which was developed under the direction of NSRC Executive Director Douglas Lapp and NSRC Deputy Director Charles HardY. Snecial thanks go to Maril,vn Fenichel, Project Di- rector, who conceptualized, researched, and wrote the book. Linda Harteker served as development editor for the manuscript and also wrote three case studies. Her experience, humor, and support contributed greatly to the completion of the project. Bar- bara Johnson, Research Associate, assisted in the development of the chapter on criteria for selecting inquiry-centered science cur- riculum materials. Katherine Darke, Administrative Assistant, and Lynn Miller, Writer/Editor, worked on the case studies. David Stein, Editorial Assistant, compiled the materials for the appen- dixes. Cynthia Allen did a careful and thorough copyedit of the final manuscript and helped further refine it. Evelyn Ernst, Infor- mation Dissemination Director, and Dean Trackman, Publications Director, provided insightful feedback and support throughout the development and writing process. The NSRC also acknowledges the efforts of 22 reviewers who critiqued a preliminary draft of the manuscript at an important stage in its development. The reviewers' thoughtful comments en- couraged NSRC staff to rethink some of the ideas in the manu- script, as well as the amount of information we chose to include. We appreciate the thought and care that went into their reviews. These reviewers are listed on the next page. _ , ~ or XIl
Acknowledgments Judi Backman Math/Science Coordinator, Highline Public Schools, Seattle, Wash. John W. Collette Director, Scientific Affairs, E. I. du Pont de Nemours ~ Company, Du Pont Experimental Station, Wilmington, Del. Joyce Dutcher Instructional Coordinator, Fort Bend Independent School District, Sugar Land, err l exas Hubert M. Dyasi Director, The Workshop Center, City College School of Education (The City University of New York), New York, N. George Hein Director, Program Evaluation and Research Group, Lesley College, Cambridge, Mass. Richard Hinman Vice President (retiredJ, Research and Development, Pf zer Central Research, Groton, Conn. Kathleen Holmay Public Information Consultant, Kathleen Holmay ~ Associates, Kensington, Md. Mary Kelly Science Consultant K-6, Hinsdale School District, Hinsdale, Ill. Michael Klentschy Superintendent, El Centro School District, El Centro, CaliJ: Sabra Lee Senior Research Assistant, Program Evaluation and Research Group, Lesley College, Cambridge, Mass. Sarah A. Lindsey Science Coordinator K-12, Midland Public Schools, Midland, Mich. Lawrence F. Lowery Principal Investigator, Full Option Science System, Lawrence Hall of Science, Universi- ty of California, Berkeley, Calif: Richard McQueen Specialist, Science Education, Alpha High School, Gresham, Ore. Carlo Parravano Director, Merck Institute for Science Education, Rakway, N.jr. Harold Pratt Director, Division on K-12 Policy and Practice, Centerfor Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D. C. Diana Rigden Director of 'reacher education Programs, Councilfor Basic Education, Washington, D.C. Lawrence Small Science Coordinator '(retired:), Schaumburg School District, Schaumbur$ Ill. Susan Sprague Director, Science and Social Studies, Mesa Public Schools, Mesa, AriJz. Nancy Thomas Contributions Manager, Hewlett-Packard Company, Palo Alto, Calif: Emma Walton Program Director, Presidential Awards, National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va. Karen Worth Principal Investigator, Education Development Center, Newton, Mass. John Wright Project Investigator, Hands-On Activity Science Program, University of Alabama, Huntsville, Ala. ... x'''