Twentieth Annual Moti Lal Rustgi Memorial Lecture
What is changing in Science Education, and what does that mean for you and your children?
At both the K-12 and the college level significant changes are underway in how science is taught. The report "A Framework for K-12 Science Education" has led to the Next Generation Science Standards, which have been adopted by 8 states and are under consideration in many more, including New York. These standards stress engagement of students in the practices of science and engineering, along with a focus on a limited set of core ideas of the major natural science disciplines and of major concepts that are common across them (cross-cutting concepts). At the undergraduate level similar change in emphasis, toward doing rather than simply knowing about science, is recommended based on research on learning, particularly that summarized in "Discipline Based Education Research" (another Board on Science Education study). I will discuss how the framing of a set of science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts in the K-12 Framework informs the shifts needed at both levels. Importantly, future science teachers, including elementary school teachers (many of whom are not science majors and take only introductory science courses at the college level), will need to experience the science practices in their college science courses in order to be able to support their students in using them effectively. I will argue that these shifts in science teaching and learning can benefit all students.