Science education | Wikipedia audio article

Science education is the field concerned with
sharing science content and process with individuals not traditionally considered part of the scientific
community. The learners may be children, college students,
or adults within the general public; the field of science education includes work in science
content, science process (the scientific method), some social science, and some teaching pedagogy. The standards for science education provide
expectations for the development of understanding for students through the entire course of
their K-12 education and beyond. The traditional subjects included in the standards
are physical, life, earth, space, and human sciences.==Historical background==
The first person credited with being employed as a Science teacher in a British public school
was William Sharp who left the job at Rugby School in 1850 after establishing Science
to the curriculum. Sharp is said to have established a model
for Science to be taught throughout the British Public Schools.The next step came when the
British Academy for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) published a report in 1867. BAAS promoted teaching of “pure science” and
training of the “scientific habit of mind.” The progressive education movement of the
time supported the ideology of mental training through the sciences. BAAS emphasized separately pre-professional
training in secondary science education. In this way, future BAAS members could be
prepared. The initial development of science teaching
was slowed by the lack of qualified teachers. One key development was the founding of the
first London School Board in 1870, which discussed the school curriculum; another was the initiation
of courses to supply the country with trained science teachers. In both cases the influence of Thomas Henry
Huxley was critical (see especially Thomas Henry Huxley educational influence). John Tyndall was also influential in the teaching
of physical science.In the US, science education was a scatter of subjects prior to its standardization
in the 1890s. The development of a science curriculum in
the US emerged gradually after extended debate between two ideologies, citizen science and
pre-professional training. As a result of a conference of 30 leading
secondary and college educators in Florida, the National Education Association appointed
a Committee of Ten in 1892 which had authority to organize future meetings and appoint subject
matter committees of the major subjects taught in U.S. secondary schools. The committee was composed of ten educators
(all men) and was chaired by Charles Eliot of Harvard University. The Committee of Ten met, and appointed nine
conferences committees (Latin, Greek, English, Other Modern Languages, Mathematics, History,
Civil Government and Political Economy, and three in science). The three conference committees appointed
for science were: physics, astronomy, and chemistry (1); natural history (2); and geography
(3). Each committee, appointed by the Committee
of Ten, was composed of ten leading specialists from colleges and normal schools, and secondary
schools. Each committee met in a different location
in the U.S. The three science committees met for three
days in the Chicago area. Committee reports were submitted to the Committee
of Ten, which met for four days in New York, to create a comprehensive report. In 1894, the NEA published the results of
work of these conference committees.According to the Committee of Ten, the goal of high
school was to prepare all students to do well in life, contributing to their well-being
and the good of society. Another goal was to prepare some students
to succeed in college.This committee supported the citizen science approach focused on mental
training and withheld performance in science studies from consideration for college entrance. The BAAS encouraged their longer standing
model in the UK. The US adopted a curriculum was characterized
as follows: Elementary science should focus on simple
natural phenomena (nature study) by means of experiments carried out “in-the-field.” Secondary science should focus on laboratory
work and the committee’s prepared lists of specific experiments
Teaching of facts and principles College preparationThe format of shared mental
training and pre-professional training consistently dominated the curriculum from its inception
to now. However, the movement to incorporate a humanistic
approach, such as inclusion of the arts (S.T.E.A.M.), science, technology, society and environment
education is growing and being implemented more broadly in the late 20th century (Aikenhead,
1994). Reports by the American Academy for the Advancement
of Science (AAAS), including Project 2061, and by the National Committee on Science Education
Standards and Assessment detail goals for science education that link classroom science
to practical applications and societal implications.==Fields of Science Education==
Science is a universal subject that spans the branch of knowledge that examines the
structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Science education is most commonly broken
down into the following three fields: Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.===Physics Education===Physics education is characterized by the
study of science that deals with matter and energy, and their interactions.Physics First,
a program endorsed by the American Association of Physics Teachers, is a curriculum in which
9th grade students take an introductory physics course. The purpose is to enrich students’ understanding
of physics, and allow for more detail to be taught in subsequent high school biology and
chemistry classes. It also aims to increase the number of students
who go on to take 12th grade physics or AP Physics, which are generally elective courses
in American high schools.[22]Physics education in high schools in the United States has suffered
the last twenty years because many states now only require three sciences, which can
be satisfied by earth/physical science, chemistry, and biology. The fact that many students do not take physics
in high school makes it more difficult for those students to take scientific courses
in college. At the university/college level, using appropriate
technology-related projects to spark non-physics majors’ interest in learning physics has
been shown to be successful.[23] This is a potential opportunity to forge the connection
between physics and social benefit.===Chemistry Education===
Chemistry education is characterized by the study of science that deals with the composition,
structure, and properties of substances and the transformations that they undergo. Chemistry is the study of chemicals and the
elements and their effects and attributes. Students in chemistry learn the periodic table. The branch of science education known as “chemistry
must be taught in a relevant context in order to promote full understanding of current sustainability
issues.” As this source states chemistry is a very
important subject in school as it teaches students to understand issues in the world. As children are interested by the world around
them chemistry teachers can attract interest in turn educating the students further. The subject of chemistry is a very practical
based subject meaning most of class time is spent working or completing experiments.===Biology Education===
Biology education is characterized by the study of structure, function, heredity, and
evolution of all living organisms. Biology itself is the study of living organisms,
through different fields including morphology, physiology, anatomy, behavior, origin, and
distribution.Depending on the country and education level, there are many approaches
to teaching biology. In the United States, there is a growing emphasis
on the ability to investigate and analyze biology related questions over an extended
period of time.==Pedagogy==
While the public image of science education may be one of simply learning facts by rote,
science education in recent history also generally concentrates on the teaching of science concepts
and addressing misconceptions that learners may hold regarding science concepts or other
content. Science education has been strongly influenced
by constructivist thinking. Constructivism in science education has been
informed by an extensive research programme into student thinking and learning in science,
and in particular exploring how teachers can facilitate conceptual change towards canonical
scientific thinking. Constructivism emphasises the active role
of the learner, and the significance of current knowledge and understanding in mediating learning,
and the importance of teaching that provides an optimal level of guidance to learners.===The guided-discovery approach to science
education===Along with John Dewey, Jerome Bruner, and
many others, Arthur Koestler offers a critique of contemporary science education and proposes
its replacement with the guided-discovery approach: To derive pleasure from the art
of discovery, as from the other arts, the consumer—in this case the student—must
be made to re-live, to some extent, the creative process. In other words, he must be induced, with proper
aid and guidance, to make some of the fundamental discoveries of science by himself, to experience
in his own mind some of those flashes of insight which have lightened its path. . . . The traditional method of confronting
the student not with the problem but with the finished solution, means depriving him
of all excitement, [shutting] off the creative impulse, [reducing] the adventure of mankind
to a dusty heap of theorems.Specific hands-on illustrations of this approach are available.==Research==
The practice of science education has been increasingly informed by research into science
teaching and learning. Research in science education relies on a
wide variety of methodologies, borrowed from many branches of science and engineering such
as computer science, cognitive science, cognitive psychology and anthropology. Science education research aims to define
or characterize what constitutes learning in science and how it is brought about. John D. Bransford, et al., summarized massive
research into student thinking as having three key findings: Preconceptions
Prior ideas about how things work are remarkably tenacious and an educator must explicitly
address a students’ specific misconceptions if the student is to reconfigure his misconception
in favour of another explanation. Therefore, it is essential that educators
know how to learn about student preconceptions and make this a regular part of their planning. Knowledge Organization
In order to become truly literate in an area of science, students must, “(a) have a deep
foundation of factual knowledge, (b) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual
framework, and (c) organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application.”[2]
Metacognition Students will benefit from thinking about
their thinking and their learning. They must be taught ways of evaluating their
knowledge and what they don’t know, evaluating their methods of thinking, and evaluating
their conclusions. Some educators and others have practiced and
advocated for discussions of pseudoscience as a way to understand what it is to think
scientifically and to address the problems introduced by pseudoscience.Educational technologies
are being refined to meet the specific needs of science teachers. One research study examining how cellphones
are being used in post-secondary science teaching settings showed that mobile technologies can
increase student engagement and motivation in the science classroom.According to a bibliography
on constructivist-oriented research on teaching and learning science in 2005, about 64 percent
of studies documented are carried out in the domain of physics, 21 percent in the domain
of biology, and 15 percent in chemistry. The major reason for this dominance of physics
in the research on teaching and learning appears to be that understanding physics includes
difficulties due to the particular nature of physics. Research on students’ conceptions has shown
that most pre-instructional (everyday) ideas that students bring to physics instruction
are in stark contrast to the physics concepts and principles to be achieved – from kindergarten
to the tertiary level. Quite often students’ ideas are incompatible
with physics views. This also holds true for students’ more
general patterns of thinking and reasoning.==Science education in different countries
Australia===As in England and Wales, science education
in Australia is compulsory up until year 11, where students can choose to study one or
more of the branches mentioned above. If they wish to no longer study science, they
can choose none of the branches. The science stream is one course up until
year 11, meaning students learn in all of the branches giving them a broad idea of what
science is all about. The National Curriculum Board of Australia
(2009) stated that “The science curriculum will be organised around three interrelated
strands: science understanding; science inquiry skills; and science as a human endeavour.” These strands give teachers and educators
the framework of how they should be instructing their students. A major problem that has befallen science
education in Australia over the last decade is a falling interest in science. Fewer year 10 students are choosing to study
science for year 11, which is problematic as these are the years where students form
attitudes to pursue science careers. This issue is not unique in Australia, but
is happening in countries all over the world.===China===
Educational quality in China suffers because a typical classroom contains 50 to 70 students. With over 200 million students, China has
the largest educational system in the world. However, only 20% percent of students complete
the rigorous ten-year program of formal schooling.As in many other countries, the science curriculum
includes sequenced courses in physics, chemistry, and biology. Science education is given high priority and
is driven by textbooks composed by committees of scientists and teachers. Science education in China places great emphasis
on memorization, and gives far less attention to problem solving, application of principles
to novel situations, interpretations, and predictions.===United Kingdom===In English and Welsh schools, science is a
compulsory subject in the National Curriculum. All pupils from 5 to 16 years of age must
study science. It is generally taught as a single subject
science until sixth form, then splits into subject-specific A levels (physics, chemistry
and biology). However, the government has since expressed
its desire that those pupils who achieve well at the age of 14 should be offered the opportunity
to study the three separate sciences from September 2008. In Scotland the subjects split into chemistry,
physics and biology at the age of 13–15 for National 4/5s in these subjects, and there
is also a combined science standard grade qualification which students can sit, provided
their school offers it. In September 2006 a new science program of
study known as 21st Century Science was introduced as a GCSE option in UK schools, designed to
“give all 14 to 16 year old’s a worthwhile and inspiring experience of science”. In November 2013, Ofsted’s survey of science
in schools revealed that practical science teaching was not considered important enough. At the majority of English schools, students
have the opportunity to study a separate science program as part of their GCSEs, which results
in them taking 6 papers at the end of Year 11; this usually fills one of their option
‘blocks’ and requires more science lessons than those who choose not to partake in separate
science or are not invited. Other students who choose not to follow the
compulsory additional science course, which results in them taking 4 papers resulting
in 2 GCSEs, opposed to the 3 GCSEs given by taking separate science.===United States===
In many U.S. states, K-12 educators must adhere to rigid standards or frameworks of what content
is to be taught to which age groups. This often leads teachers to rush to “cover”
the material, without truly “teaching” it. In addition, the process of science, including
such elements as the scientific method and critical thinking, is often overlooked. This emphasis can produce students who pass
standardized tests without having developed complex problem solving skills. Although at the college level American science
education tends to be less regulated, it is actually more rigorous, with teachers and
professors fitting more content into the same time period. In 1996, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
of the U.S. National Academies produced the National Science Education Standards, which
is available online for free in multiple forms. Its focus on inquiry-based science, based
on the theory of constructivism rather than on direct instruction of facts and methods,
remains controversial. Some research suggests that it is more effective
as a model for teaching science. “The Standards call for more than ‘science
as process,’ in which students learn such skills as observing, inferring, and experimenting. Inquiry is central to science learning. When engaging in inquiry, students describe
objects and events, ask questions, construct explanations, test those explanations against
current scientific knowledge, and communicate their ideas to others. They identify their assumptions, use critical
and logical thinking, and consider alternative explanations. In this way, students actively develop their
understanding of science by combining scientific knowledge with reasoning and thinking skills.” Concern about science education and science
standards has often been driven by worries that American students lag behind their peers
in international rankings. One notable example was the wave of education
reforms implemented after the Soviet Union launched its Sputnik satellite in 1957. The first and most prominent of these reforms
was led by the Physical Science Study Committee at MIT. In recent years, business leaders such as
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates have called for more emphasis on science education, saying
the United States risks losing its economic edge. To this end, Tapping America’s Potential is
an organization aimed at getting more students to graduate with science, technology, engineering
and mathematics degrees. Public opinion surveys, however, indicate
most U.S. parents are complacent about science education and that their level of concern
has actually declined in recent years.Prof Sreyashi Jhumki Basu published extensively
on the need for equity in Science Education in the United States. Furthermore, in the recent National Curriculum
Survey conducted by ACT, researchers uncovered a possible disconnect among science educators. “Both middle school/junior high school teachers
and post secondary science instructors rate(d) process/inquiry skills as more important than
advanced science content topics; high school teachers rate them in exactly the opposite
order.” Perhaps more communication among educators
at the different grade levels in necessary to ensure common goals for students.====2012 science education framework====
According to a report from the National Academy of Sciences, the fields of science, technology,
and education hold a paramount place in the modern world, but there are not enough workers
in the United States entering the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professions. In 2012 the National Academy of Sciences Committee
on a Conceptual Framework for New K-12 Science Education Standards developed a guiding framework
to standardize K-12 science education with the goal of organizing science education systematically
across the K-12 years. Titled A Framework for K-12 Science Education:
Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, the publication promotes standardizing
K-12 science education in the United States. It emphasizes science educators to focus on
a “limited number of disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts, be designed so
that students continually build on and revise their knowledge and abilities over multiple
years, and support the integration of such knowledge and abilities with the practices
needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design.” The report says that in the 21st century Americans
need science education in order to engage in and “systematically investigate issues
related to their personal and community priorities,” as well as to reason scientifically and know
how to apply science knowledge. The committee that designed this new framework
sees this imperative as a matter of educational equity to the diverse set of schoolchildren. Getting more diverse students into STEM education
is a matter of social justice as seen by the committee.====2013 Next Generation Science Standards
====In 2013 a new standards for science education
were released that update the national standards released in 1996. Developed by 26 state governments and national
organizations of scientists and science teachers, the guidelines, called the Next Generation
Science Standards, are intended to “combat widespread scientific ignorance, to standardize
teaching among states, and to raise the number of high school graduates who choose scientific
and technical majors in college….” Included are guidelines for teaching students
about topics such as climate change and evolution. An emphasis is teaching the scientific process
so that students have a better understanding of the methods of science and can critically
evaluate scientific evidence. Organizations that contributed to developing
the standards include the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association
for the Advancement of Science, the National Research Council, and Achieve, a nonprofit
organization that was also involved in developing math and English standards.====Informal science education====Informal science education is the science
teaching and learning that occurs outside of the formal school curriculum in places
such as museums, the media, and community-based programs. The National Science Teachers Association
has created a position statement on Informal Science Education to define and encourage
science learning in many contexts and throughout the lifespan. Research in informal science education is
funded in the United States by the National Science Foundation. The Center for Advancement of Informal Science
Education (CAISE) provides resources for the informal science education community. Examples of informal science education include
science centers, science museums, and new digital learning environments (e.g. Global
Challenge Award), many of which are members of the Association of Science and Technology
Centers (ASTC). The Exploratorium in San Francisco and The
Franklin Institute in Philadelphia are the oldest of this type of museum in the United
States. Media include TV programs such as NOVA, Newton’s
Apple, “Bill Nye the Science Guy”,”Beakman’s World”, The Magic School Bus, and Dragonfly
TV. Early examples of science education on American
television included programs by Daniel Q. Posin, such as “Dr. Posin’s Universe”, “The
Universe Around Us”, “On the Shoulders of Giants”, and “Out of This World”. Examples of community-based programs are 4-H
Youth Development programs, Hands On Science Outreach, NASA and After school Programs and
Girls at the Center. Home education is encouraged through educational
products such as the former (1940-1989) Things of Science subscription service.In 2010, the
National Academies released Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments,
based on the National Research Council study, Learning Science in Informal Environments:
People, Places, and Pursuits. Surrounded by Science is a resource book that
shows how current research on learning science across informal science settings can guide
the thinking, the work, and the discussions among informal science practitioners. This book makes valuable research accessible
to those working in informal science: educators, museum professionals, university faculty,
youth leaders, media specialists, publishers, broadcast journalists, and many others.==See also==
Center for Informal Learning and Schools Controversial science
Constructivism in science education Discipline-based education research
Discovery learning Educational research
Environmental groups and resources serving K–12 schools
Epistemology (the study of knowledge and how we know things)
Graduate school Inquiry-based Science
National Science Education Standards National Science Teachers Association
Pedagogy Physics education
Mathematics education Engineering education
School science technicians Science education in England
Science, Technology, Society and Environment Education
Scientific literacy Science outreach
Scientific modelling

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