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N.S.F. Awards $8.6 Million in Effort To Redefine Way Science Is Taught

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Washington--The National Science Foundation has awarded $8.6 million in grants as part of an effort to redefine the way science is taught to middle- and high-school students.

The three-year grants, averaging $1.4 million each, were awarded last week to six recipients under the "Scope, Sequence, and Coordination'' project of the n.s.f.'s Science and Mathematics Education Network.

Nsf officials characterized the project as "perhaps the most far-reaching science-education reform effort in the U.S. since the Sputnik era of the 1950's."

The aim of the grant program is to develop more effective alternatives to the traditional "layer cake" approach to teaching science, in which students progress through a hierarchy of courses that generally begins with life sciences in the 7th grade and culminates with physical science in high school.

One of the grants will go the project's overall coordinator, the National Science Teachers Association. The nsta will prepare national curricu2p4lum materials drawing on regional models developed by the other five grant recipients. They include:

The Baylor College of Medicine, which will join with Rice University and the University of Houston to provide support and resources for the Houston Independent School District.

The California Department of Education, which is coordinating the reform efforts of almost 225 middle and high schools across the state.

The University of Iowa, whose award will go toward integrating materials about science, technology, and society in its model curriculum.

The University of Puerto Rico, which will develop techniques for integrating math into the sciences in grades 7-9. It also will produce materials in Spanish that will be disseminated to mainland schools.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington, which will cooperate with East Carolina University and work in cooperation with the North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network to produce materials to aid teachers.--pw

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