Why Consider Teaching Science? Presentation for the Future Teachers Program California State University Fullerton
What is Science? What is Science? With a partner, compose a definition. Be prepared to share with the class.
Answer: What is Science? There is no one absolute definition, but your definitions might include some of the following: • Science is an area of knowledge. • Science is a process. • Science is a method of exploration and investigation. • Science is biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and earth science.
What Does a Scientist Look Like? Draw a picture of a scientist. Include as much detail as you can. Be prepared to share.
If you are like most people, your scientist will show a white male with one or more of the following… • Wild hair • Eye glasses • A white lab coat • A pocket protector • Working by himself • Some bubbling flasks!
Stereotypes • Think about the stereotypical scientist. Who is not included? Discuss some other scientists.
What Science Do We Teach and Why? Many organizations have an opinion about what science we should teach. For example: • Science for All Americans: The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) founded Project 2061 in 1985 to help all Americans become literate in science, mathematics, and technology. • ACS Education: The American Chemical Society is just one example of subject-specific organizations that offer curriculum and instructional resources for teaching society. • NSTA Teacher Resources: The goal of the National Science Teachers Association is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.
California has two major documents that guide science instruction: California Science Framework This is the blueprint for how to teach science, containing information about: • Education Reform • Science Instruction and Instructional Materials • Professional Preparation of Science Teachers Science Content Standards • California has identified and adopted academic content standards for kindergarten through grade twelve. • These standards are designed to ensure that all students have a rich experience in science at every grade level and that curriculum, builds on previous learning. • See these standards by grade level at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/scmain.asp
We Teach What We Think • A teacher’s attitude about science affects students’ attitudes about science. • Teachers who are enthusiastic, interested, and who speak of the power and beauty of scientific understanding instill their students some of those same attitudes.
How is Science Important? • Imagine a world without skateboards or computers, without compact disks or space travel, without vaccines for measles and polio, or antibiotics such as penicillin. • People are alive today who remember that world. It wasn’t so long ago. • The world we live in, the world we take for granted, is ours thanks to science and basic research. • Before engineers came up with space capsules or high stress materials that made skateboards possible, basic researchers were following where curiosity led in the effort to understand materials, the principles of physics, the nature of viruses. • Science is not a big book of answers, but a matter of asking the best questions and devising the best methods for getting at the answers. • It is what happens when a three-year old, who is always asking “Why?,” discovers that there is a strategy for solving the puzzles in the world around us. • It is what happens if we keep being inquisitive but begin employing the scientific method of observing, forming hypotheses, and setting up controlled experiments to test the hypotheses.
What is Scientific Literacy? • Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. • Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. • It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. • Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. • A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately. • Scientific literacy has different degrees and forms; it expands and deepens over a lifetime, not just during school.
What Kinds of Science Teachers Are There? • Elementary teachers, who have a Multiple Subject Credential, teach all subjects, including science, to students in grades K-6. • Secondary teachers are credentialed in specific content areas: • Physical science, including chemistry and physics • Biological sciences, including biology • Geological sciences, including earth science, environmental science, and geology
As an Elementary Teacher, What Science Might You Teach? • Elementary school science includes four strands: • Physical sciences • Students know all matter is made of atoms, which may combine to form molecules. (Grade 5) • Life sciences • Students know both plants and animals need water, animals need food, and plants need light. (Grade 1) • Earth science • Students know the way in which the Moon's appearance changes during the four-week lunar cycle. (Grade 3) • Investigation and experimentation • Students select and use appropriate tools and technology (including calculators, computers, balances, spring scales, microscopes, and binoculars) to perform tests, collect data, and display data. (Grade 6) See more at K-12 Science Content Standards
Integrated Science • Elementary teachers often integrate science concepts into the other curriculum they teach. • A teacher might read Lynne Cherry’s story The Great Kapok Tree to students as part of the language arts curriculum, but might use the opportunity to discuss the depletion of the rain forest at the same time. • See the Teachers’ Guide for The Great Kapok Tree • Or, A teacher may use Janell Cannon’s Stellaluna as a way to start a unit on adaptations and survival of birds and bats in their respective habitats. • See the Teachers’ Guide for Stellaluna • See http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/sc/ll/ to search for recommended literature for math and science.
Environmental Science Environmental Science is a major part of the elementary science curriculum, and many curriculum projects such are designed to make learners environmentally aware. • Project WILD - wildlife-based conservation and environmental education that fosters responsible actions toward wildlife and related natural resources • Project Learning Tree – environmental education • Closing the Loop - waste prevention, recycling, and composting concepts • Project WET – water education
Check Out the Stories About These Science Teachers! Click on pictures to find out what these teachers are doing!
Lets Look at a Teacher in Action I'm Dave, a middle school science teacher. I teach several grades and so I cover lots of science topics, covering things like earth science, living things, astronomy, and more. Today, I'm working with my sixth graders to investigate electricity. Click on my picture and I'll show you how I do it!
Want to get started? See the NSTA Career Center • There are many things you can do to prepare for a career as a science teacher before you enter the classroom. Whether you are still a student or you are an adult seeking to enter the field, now is the time for you to begin building skills related to teaching, management, and organization. • See suggestions and resources at: http://careers.nsta.org/advice_planning.asp
Activity 1: Ask a Teacher Schedule an appointment with a science teacher or student teacher at your school and ask them the following questions. Write the answers in your blue book. • Why did you decide to become a science teacher? • What has been the most rewarding experience for you in your career thus far? • What would you recommend to a high school student considering science teaching as a career?
Activity 2: Reflect on Learning This presentation focused on science. Review the definition of scientific literacy on slide 11. • In your blue book, identify at least one area in which you used your knowledge and skills of science to help you understand a situation or solve a problem. • Identify two concerns or questions you have about teaching students so they become scientifically literate. You may wish to discuss these with your Future Teacher Advisor.
Activity 3: Find Out More Use the Web resources on the next slide to complete the following in your blue book: • Choose any of the resources in this presentation or on the following pages to find out more about one of the following: • Careers in science education • Elementary environmental or integrated science • Summarize what you’ve found in your blue book.
Sources for Information on Careers in Science Education • Careers in Life Sciences - http://www.the-aps.org/education/k-12misc/careers.htm • US Geological Service and Science Education - http://education.usgs.gov/ • Careers in the Biological Sciences – http://www.aibs.org/careers/ • Careers in Genetics and Biosciences (Human Genome Project) - http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/education/careers.shtml • Careers in Science and Nature http://www.bls.gov/k12/science.htm and http://www.bls.gov/k12/nature.htm • College Majors and Career Information -http://careerservices.rutgers.edu/CareerHandouts.html • Welcome to My World: Careers in Science and Technology - http://www.fi.edu/careers/careers_flash.html • Biology Jobs - http://www.biologyjobs.com/
Elementary Integrated and Environmental Science Sources • Project Learning Tree http://www.plt.org/ • Project Wild http://www.projectwild.org/ • Project WET http://www.projectwet.org/ • Schools of California Online Resources for Educators http://www.score.k12.ca.us/ • Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children, 2006 http://www.nsta.org/ostbs06 • Math and Children’s Literature http://www.carolhurst.com/subjects/math/math.html