As schools work to implement the Next Generation Science Standards, scientists are rethinking how to work with schools to create interest in and strengthen understanding of the field.
Science education is about more than STEM careers. In fact, as David Evans, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, notes, "everyone needs to know how to look at evidence and engage in the practices of science."
The next-generation of standards will create new opportunities for partnerships between scientists and educators. One specific example of this is better integration of teaching scientific concepts with the daily procedures and practices of science. This can be seen in the case of Alicia Alonzo, an associate professor of physics education at Michigan State University and a 2017 early-career-award winner. Alonzo, is working with a group of teachers to incorporate scientific practices into content being taught about force and motion in a 9th grade physical-science course. Students independently explore the concepts and build on their findings. As the teachers work through their lessons, Alonzo interviews students and conducts assessments, sharing insight with teachers on how students are thinking about the concepts and classwork.
According to Evans, "Scientists are often enthusiastic about their fields, but many are not skilled at communicating to a nonscientific audience, particularly young students." This new trend of scientists working with teachers to create lessons has a higher chance of success than attempting to make new standards fit areas they want to teach.
Visit Education Week's article for more information about how standards are inspiring collaborations between teachers and scientists.