|8+1 Science: Proposed Remedy For US Science Education|
|Living - Society|
|TS-Si News Service|
|Tuesday, 10 April 2012 08:00|
East Lansing, MI, USA. A group of scientists and educators propose adoption of 8+1 Science, arguing it is a necessary approach to improving how American students learn science.
The 8+1 Science program would move K-12 schools away from memorizing scientific facts and focus students on understanding eight fundamental science concepts. The "plus one" is inquiry, a fundamental part of science, that asks why things happen around us.
William Schmidt of Michigan State University (MSU) is a Distinguished Professor of statistics and education. Schmidt has met with the science group to rethink how science should be taught since 2006, when it was originally part of a research project called Promoting Rigorous Outcomes in Mathematics and Science Education (PROM/SE). "Now is the time to rethink how we teach science," said Schmidt. "What we are proposing through 8+1 Science is a new way of thinking about and teaching science, not a new set of science standards.
Video courtesy of Michigan State University (MSU).
8+1 Science. Results from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP science) show only 34 percent of fourth-graders and 21 percent of 12th-graders were proficient in their science knowledge. Internationally, U.S. students ranked a mediocre 23rd in their science knowledge among countries studied by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).
This film was produced by The Center for Curriculum Studies at MSU and Great Life Productions. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry allowed location access to the production staff.The 8+1 Science program supports basic concepts included in most sets of state standards currently in use and compliments standards-based education reform efforts. The 8+1 concepts were derived from two basic questions:
Of what are things made?
How do systems interact and change?
Traditionally, science in the United States has been taught in isolated disciplines such as chemistry, biology and physics without clear connections being made between the subjects. The 8+1 effort encourages K-12 teachers to use the eight science concepts to build understanding within and between their courses as students advance through the grades.
"The natural world seems to operate through these laws and concepts, but when it comes to schooling we don't teach children these laws and then show how these apply in different situations," Schmidt said.
Simon Billinge, an 8+1 committee member and professor of applied physics and mathematics at Columbia University, said the aim is for students to see, for example, the physics within biology and the chemistry within physics, so they can gain an understanding of science that transcends disciplinary lines. Today's frontiers in science often occur at these disciplinary edges. Aided by the explosion in technology and scientific discoveries, new fields are arising that were hardly imagined a generation ago such as synthetic biology, digital organisms and genomics.
Most states are participating in a process to develop new K-12 science standards that are more relevant, coherent and based on international benchmarks. Stephen Pruitt, vice president of Achieve, a nonprofit organization managing the state-led effort, said 8+1 Science can work hand-in-hand with his organization's effort – called Next Generation Science Standards – "to change the way we think about science education."
"The emphasis is about helping students learn key concepts in science, rather than just facts," Pruitt said.
FundingThe research project mentioned in this article, Promoting Rigorous Outcomes in Mathematics and Science Education (PROM/SE) was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
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|Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:21|