New Report Seeks to Improve Science Education in Grades K through 8

What is the best way to teach kids about science? A new report seeks to help children learn science more effectively by improving the way science is taught in the classroom.

Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8, was prepared by the National Research Council with partial funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health.

Based on research ranging from classroom observation to cognitive development and cognitive science (how children develop scientific thinking and reasoning skills), the report aims to guide science teaching. Much of the research in cognitive development and science cited in the report was supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, specifically through its Child Development and Behavior Branch.

The report indicates that young children are capable of more abstract thought and more sophisticated thinking than had previously been believed. Current science education methods are based on the assumption that children think in concrete and simplistic terms, and are incapable of more abstract reasoning.

The report cites four intertwined and equally important strands that make up the definition of proficiency in science.

  • Students should know, use, and interpret scientific explanations of the natural world.
  • They should be able to generate and evaluate scientific evidence and explanations
  • They should understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge.
  • All students' work should include active participation in scientific collaboration and discussion.

In addition, the report provides a list of classroom experiences, based on these principals, to help children learn science.

The report calls for additional research to shed more light on how learning occurs across the four strands, how instruction should change with children's development, and which scientific ideas have the broadest reach across disciplines.

For more information on the report, visit: External Web Site Policy

The news release describing the report is available at: External Web Site Policy

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