The Earlier The Better

Report calls for more science in elementary school

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

If the nation is to regain its lead in science education, the effort must begin in elementary schools, according to a new report, Getting Americans Started in Science.

In grades K-6, the report notes, "most children are not taught science at all, and when they are, they are taught in a manner that progressively diminishes their interest in the subject and their confidence in their capacity to learn it." As a consequence, the authors note, American students score low on national and international science tests.

The report, which was conducted by the National Center for Improving Science Education, urges curriculum planners in the elementary grades to place as much emphasis on science as they do on reading and mathematics. It also recommends that the federal government lead a national effort to promote effective science teaching in those grades.

The federally funded research center's blueprint for high-quality science instruction reflects a growing consensus among science educators. It stresses hands-on, activity-based learning rather than an emphasis on textbooks and lecturing. And it recommends new forms of assessment to replace multiple-choice tests. The new performance-based tests, the center suggests, should match the proposed curriculum and learning goals, and should probe children's depth of understanding as well as factual knowledge.

Teacher-training programs, the center recommends, should model effective instruction. All prospective elementary teachers, it proposes, should take one or more science courses, and such courses should emphasize the processes and underlying principles of science rather than scientific facts.

The publication date and cost for Getting Americans Started in Science have not yet been determined.

For additional information and a list of other relevant publications, contact: The Network Inc., Publications, 290 S. Main St., Andover, MA 01810.

Vol. 01, Issue 01, Page 31

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories