Hooking Kids on Science
American students' performance on international assessments of precollege science achievement has for some time been nothing to be proud of, and there are few signs of the picture improving. Even worse for the long-term prognosis, we don't seem able to get enough young students hooked on science, either as worthy of their attention because of its intrinsic interest or as a potential career path.
Meanwhile, the design of new K-12 common standards for science is well along, with a draft due out later this month, as contributors continue to debate exactly what belongs in the curriculum. A frequently heard concern of science educators is that the "mile-wide and inch-deep" curriculum tries to cover too much ground and would have greater impact if we focused on teaching fewer topics well.
Perhaps oddly, then, the National Academy of Sciences Board on Science Education last year convened a committee to explore adding more comprehensive coverage of social sciences to the K-12 science curriculum, and possibly to the common standards for science, on the argument that social science is as worthy of study as other branches of science. When so little seems to stick, as the assessments of science learning tell us, adding more to the science curriculum would seem exactly the...
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