15 Universal Beliefs revealed through Bayer Facts of Science Education

Bayer Co. began a survey of science education. A report released this year summarizes the data from 15 years of public opinion on STEM.

In summary, 15 universal beliefs emerged:

  1. Science literacy is critical for all Americans young and old, scientist or non-scientist
  2. U.S. global economic leadership and competitiveness are intrinsically linked to a robust science and technology innovation pipeline and workforce.
  3. America’s future STEM leadership is dependent on the country’s ability to recruit and retain more women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians (underrepresented minorities) in STEM fields.
  4. Improving science education for all students – especially girls and underrepresented minorities (URMs) – should be a national priority and begin at the earliest possible elementary school level since that’s where the STEM workforce truly begins.
  5. Science interest and ability are color-blind and gender-neutral: from an early age, boys and girls of all races and ethnic backgrounds are interested in science.
  6. Parents and teachers are critically important to nurturing children’s science interest, even if they themselves are not scientists or don’t have all the answers.
  7. In elementary school, science should be the “4th R” and given the same emphasis as reading, writing, and mathematics.
  8. A hands-on, minds-on approach to science education is the best way for students to learn science and build crucial science literacy skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to work in teams.
  9. The nation’s colleges and universities should revitalize pre-service teacher education in science.
  10. The nation’s in-service teachers should be given the tools and ongoing professional development required to be the best science teachers they can be.
  11. Students and teachers benefit from having direct access to scientists and engineers on a regular basis in the classroom.
  12. America’s leading research colleges and universities should rethink how they define academic success when it comes to undergraduate STEM students.
  13. For corporate America, STEM workforce diversity benefits the corporate bottom line by bringing a range of thought, skills and problem solving to the table.
  14. America’s STEM industries and communities need to more effectively communicate with all of today’s students about a range of issues including job opportunities and the fact that they are wanted and needed in these jobs.
  15. It will take a village to improve science education in this country and all stakeholders have a responsibility and a role to play.

Amen.

Four Reasons to Teach Science Well

I’ve been reading up on K-12 Science teaching recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences. The following is from a 2007 document, Ready, Set, Science!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms (National Academies Press).

Four Reasons to Teach Science Well

  1. Science is an enterprise that can be harnessed to improve quality of life on a global scale.

  2. Science may provide a foundation for the development of language, logic, and problem-solving skills in the classroom

  3. A democracy demands that its citizens make personal, community-based, and national decisions that involve scientific information.

  4. For some students, science will become a lifelong vocation or avocation.

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p>Another good reference from this publication:

Four Strands of Science Learning

Strand 1: Understanding Scientific Explanations

Strand 2: Generating Scientific Evidence

Strand 3: Reflecting on Scientific Knowledge

Strand 4: Participating Productively in Science

Types of Support Teachers Need to Teach Science Well:

  • High-quality curriculum or supplementary materials
  • Means by which to have their questions answered (texts, colleagues, outside experts)
  • Time and support to work through science tasks as learners
  • Opportunity to explore a variety of materials and experience problems that students might have
  • Time to think about and assess the knowledge their students bring to class