Report of the Executive Committee and Proceedings of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution ...

U.S. Government Printing Office



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U.S. Government Printing Office
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Dec 31, 1917
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Remember the first time you planted a seed and watched it sprout? Or explored how a magnet attracted a nail? If these questions bring back memories of joy and wonder, then you understand the idea behind inquiry-based science--an approach to science education that challenges children to ask questions, solve problems, and develop scientific skills as well as gain knowledge. Inquiry-based science is based on research and experience, both of which confirm that children learn science best when they engage in hands-on science activities rather than read from a textbook.
The recent National Science Education Standards prepared by the National Research Council call for a revolution in science education. They stress that the science taught must be based on active inquiry and that science should become a core activity in every grade, starting in kindergarten. This easy-to-read and practical book shows how to bring about the changes recommended in the standards. It provides guidelines for planning and implementing an inquiry-based science program in any school district.
The book is divided into three parts. "Building a Foundation for Change," presents a rationale for inquiry-based science and describes how teaching through inquiry supports the way children naturally learn. It concludes with basic guidelines for planning a program.
School administrators, teachers, and parents will be especially interested in the second part, "The Nuts and Bolts of Change." This section describes the five building blocks of an elementary science program:
Community and administrative support. A developmentally appropriate curriculum. Opportunities for professional development. Materials support. Appropriate assessment tools.
Together, these five elements provide a working model of how to implement hands-on science.
The third part, "Inquiry-Centered Science in Practice," presents profiles of the successful inquiry-based science programs in districts nationwide. These profiles show how the principles of hands-on science can be adapted to different school settings.
If you want to improve the way science is taught in the elementary schools in your community, Science for All Children is an indispensable resource.
What activities might a teacher use to help children explore the life cycle of butterflies? What does a science teacher need to conduct a "leaf safari" for students? Where can children safely enjoy hands-on experience with life in an estuary? Selecting resources to teach elementary school science can be confusing and difficult, but few decisions have greater impact on the effectiveness of science teaching.
Educators will find a wealth of information and expert guidance to meet this need in Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science. A completely revised edition of the best-selling resource guide Science for Children: Resources for Teachers, this new book is an annotated guide to hands-on, inquiry-centered curriculum materials and sources of help in teaching science from kindergarten through sixth grade. (Companion volumes for middle and high school are planned.)
The guide annotates about 350 curriculum packages, describing the activities involved and what students learn. Each annotation lists recommended grade levels, accompanying materials and kits or suggested equipment, and ordering information.
These 400 entries were reviewed by both educators and scientists to ensure that they are accurate and current and offer students the opportunity to:
Ask questions and find their own answers. Experiment productively. Develop patience, persistence, and confidence in their own ability to solve real problems.

The entries in the curriculum section are grouped by scientific area--Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, and Multidisciplinary and Applied Science--and by type--core materials, supplementary materials, and science activity books. Additionally, a section of references for teachers provides annotated listings of books about science and teaching, directories and guides to science trade books, and magazines that will help teachers enhance their students' science education.
Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science also lists by region and state about 600 science centers, museums, and zoos where teachers can take students for interactive science experiences. Annotations highlight almost 300 facilities that make significant efforts to help teachers.
Another section describes more than 100 organizations from which teachers can obtain more resources. And a section on publishers and suppliers give names and addresses of sources for materials.
The guide will be invaluable to teachers, principals, administrators, teacher trainers, science curriculum specialists, and advocates of hands-on science teaching, and it will be of interest to parent-teacher organizations and parents.

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