I must admit that the columnist’s remark at the beginning of the article about American students having the heaviest backpacks was quite humorous, but it led into an article that was quite disheartening. “Not a single one of the books examined met even the minimum requirements for teaching science.” What?!
It makes me nervous to find out that so many teachers are relying solely on textbooks to teach subjects because they themselves have limited prior knowledge in the area. That is probably one of my biggest fears…that I will be unprepared for my students’ learning.
I wholeheartedly agree that science is more than “a heap of facts and vocabulary words.” We must guide our students through science, allowing them to gain knowledge through exploration and discovery, not having them write out definitions over and over again. As it was best put by the article: “Science is not just facts to be memorized or terms to learn, but a process for building up a picture and explanation of the world from evidence.
The idea that textbooks have become overwhelming in design and formatting does not surprise me in the least. I remember being distracted by all of the little blurbs and sidebars and not even paying attention to the actual textboxes.
I do not think that textbook editors and manufacturers should be using the state standards and laws as an excuse for producing inadequate textbooks, but I also think that it is the teacher’s and not the textbooks’ responsibility to present the information to the students in a way that is meaningful and productive. Not only must the textbooks be reformed, but teachers must rethink how these textbooks are used in the classroom.
I also enjoyed learning about the “new way of thinking about science” as it was presented in “Ready, Set Science!” I had never heard of the Four Strands, but it was interesting to think of the subject in this new way. Just as a reminder to myself later in the course, I am going to list the Four Strands of Science here in my blog:
- Understanding Scientific Explanations
- Generating Scientific Evidence
- Reflecting on Scientific Knowledge
- Participating Productively in Science
The strands would not “work” in education if they were not meant to be intertwined. I wholeheartedly believe that inquiry-based science is what is lacking the most in the majority of elementary schools today. As I mentioned in my science autobiography, the experiences I most remember were those in which I was able to “dig in” and get my hands dirty, exploring all the wonders of science.
After reading the articles for this week, I realize how “deprived” I was of science instruction in elementary and even in middle school. I know I had wonderful teachers, but I know that I don’t have the same lasting experiences to draw on that I would have if there had been meaningful, inquiry-based science lessons in my classrooms.
It may sound corny, but literally everything in the world deals with science on some level. There is no excuse for a teacher not to incorporate the subject into every day. Teachers must utilize all of their resources in order to instill a love for or at least and understanding of science at a young age. I hope that through this course I will realize many more ways I can present science to my own students in the classroom.