Monday, June 27, 2016

MAKING THE GRADE - New Standards in Teaching Science

"In elementary education, ‘doing science’ rather than just memorizing it" PBS NewsHour 6/21/2016


SUMMARY:  The battle over Common Core education standards is playing out across the country, but a new set of requirements for teaching science is creeping into curricula without the same fanfare.  Some states are voluntarily adopting the practices, which emphasize more consistent science instruction as well as hands-on experimentation.  Special correspondent John Tulenko of Education Week reports.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  For years, Common Core academic standards for math and English have been the subject of battles all over the country.

But there’s also a move afoot to set new standards for science as well, and a number of states are starting to adopt them voluntarily.

Special correspondent John Tulenko of Education Week reports.

JOHN TULENKO, Education Week:  It takes just 10 minutes to cross through Gillette, Wyoming.  This small city sits in the northeast corner of the state, surrounded by hundreds of miles of prairie.

But schools here in Campbell County are on the edge of something big, the next generation science standards.

CHRISTY MATHES, Sage Valley Junior High School:  You are going to build a strand of DNA, and you are going to decode it and figure out what that DNA actually says.

JOHN TULENKO:  For Christy Mathes at Sage Valley Junior High School, the new standards are about learning to think like a scientist.

CHRISTY MATHES:  There’s a lot of really good stuff in them.  Every standard is a performance task.  It’s not, 'the child needs to memorize these things.'  It’s the student needs to be able to do some pretty intense stuff.  We are analyzing, we are critiquing, we are creating, we are actually doing the science.

JOHN TULENKO:  Take today’s lesson on genes.  Mathes had her students pick fictional 'Character Cards' with the name, height, hair and eye color, of each character.

CHRISTY MATHES:  This is a secret.  Just you and your group know.

JOHN TULENKO:  In teams, they built a genetic model of their character’s traits and then the groups traded models.

CHRISTY MATHES:  And then they’re going to figure out who you had based on what you code for.

No comments: