in the science classroom
Teaching to mainstream students in our public schools presents a host of challenges for teachers to overcome when educating students in the science classroom. The pedagogy that educators develop to meet these challenges require an adaptive nature by which to implement curriculum (content, scope and sequence). This methodology lends best to the conditions presented in the learning environment. I believe these challenges facing teachers today require the most urgently needed changes in science education in American public schools.
After school programs, competitive science projects, gifted student programs and STEM related programs outside the realm of the 8 hour school day are where science projects currently hold sway. Without question, I believe that project-based science needs to be part of the scope and sequence within a science curriculum. I believe teachers can achieve a seamless transition between conceptual units in science through the implementation of project-based science initiatives embedded in the curriculum. This 21st century model for education provides learning experiences that captivate minds and inspire intrinsic motivation to learn. It supports in-depth and long-term learning experience where students can dwell upon and reflect on outcomes that are achieved in-line with performance-based expectations.
Getting students to engage in the learning process has never been more of a challenge than it is today in our schools. Educational experiences, provided to students in science education, are moving toward performance-based models for learning and assessments. There is no better performance-based model for learning than project-based educational initiatives that challenge students’ skills and abilities as a whole and not as piece-meal assessments of one aspect of one concept at a time in the curriculum.
Play, Passion and Purpose are at the center of excellent teaching and learning. The interest in and ability, by students, to create new knowledge to solve new problems is the single most important skill that students must master today. Successful innovators have mastered the ability to learn on their own “in the moment” and have the foresight to apply that knowledge in new ways. To be a successful science teacher you have to make it fun for kids and that means making it theirs. Students have ownership over what they are learning and they develop a commitment and resilience to follow through on these discoveries.