Science is a Way of Thinking: So, Why Do We Try and Standardize it?

  Figure 1. Carl Sagan and the Universe. Copyright sillyrabbitmythsare4kids, Creative Commons Science has been prominent in the media recently.  Stories and programs including the Bill Nye-Ken Ham “debate” on origins, anti-science legislation in Wyoming banning  science standards that include climate science, a new science program on the Science Channel to be hosted by Craig […]

Science Ideas Have a History: The Case for Interdisciplinary Thinking

Latest Story Figure 1. How was this tool used to “discover” the background radiation made by the Big Bang? In a piece published on the Chronicle of Higher Education, Alejandra Dubcovsky, professor of history at Yale University, says  “to understand science, study history.” Indeed, science teachers have used some stories surrounding the history of science […]

Inquiry: The Cornerstone of Teaching–Part I

Fifth Article in the series on The Artistry of Teaching Conservative and neoliberal paradigms dominate education, which have reduced teaching to skills, economic growth, job training, and transmission of information. In spite of these authoritarian policies,  many K-12 teachers practice a different form of instruction based on principles of equity, social constructivism, progressivism, and informal […]

Boxed In: How the NGSS Impedes Science Teaching

The major journals of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have published articles featuring and explaining to science teachers the nature of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  The journals include The Science Teacher, Science Scope and Science and Children.  For the past several issues, each journal has published articles that deal with different aspects […]

Online Communities of Practice: Lessons from Yahoo

No doubt you’ve read the news reports telling us that Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, informed all Yahoo employees that they could no longer work at home. There were many people who felt that Mayer did not understand the value of having employees work at home. Some employees were outraged that they could no longer […]

Bill Moyers Interviews “Activist” Zack Kopplin About Science Teaching

Zack Kopplin is an American science education activist.  While he was a high school student at Baton Rouge Magnet High School, the Louisiana legislature passed the Louisiana Science Education Act  signed by Governor Bobby Jindal.  Zack Kopplin, who is now a history major at Rice University was very surprised that Governor Jindal signed this anti-science […]

Bill Moyers Interviews "Activist" Zack Kopplin About Science Teaching

Zack Kopplin is an American science education activist.  While he was a high school student at Baton Rouge Magnet High School, the Louisiana legislature passed the Louisiana Science Education Act  signed by Governor Bobby Jindal.  Zack Kopplin, who is now a history major at Rice University was very surprised that Governor Jindal signed this anti-science […]

The Neoconservative Drive for Common Standards in Math and Science

For the past two decades there has been a drive to create a common set of standards in math and science (and English Language Arts).  The enterprise is well-funded, and supported not only by the U.S. Department of Education, but by corporate and philanthropic America to the extent that the initiative is pushing ahead at […]

Dream Document: The Next Generation Science Standards

Achieve, Inc., a corporate sponsored non-profit company, uploaded the 2nd draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) on its website for review until January 29, 2013.  A final version will be uploaded in March, 2013. For many educators, the NGSS are just what the doctor ordered to improve science teaching in the U.S.  In […]

Hip-Hop Culture & Science Teaching: Progressive Education in Action

I’ve written several posts on this blog about Professor Christopher Emdin, Professor of Science Education, Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. Dr. Emdin has worked for years in New York City schools with urban youth to help teachers change the way they work with their students to bring real meaning to the learning […]

Hip-Hop Culture & Science Teaching: Progressive Education in Action

I’ve written several posts on this blog about Professor Christopher Emdin, Professor of Science Education, Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. Dr. Emdin has worked for years in New York City schools with urban youth to help teachers change the way they work with their students to bring real meaning to the learning […]

Why Do We Promote Consumption And Not Inquiry

Why in a democracy do we promote consumption and not inquiry in science teaching?  Why are we so possessed to have teachers cover the ground and not helping students uncover their connection to the world around them? The second public draft of The Next Generation Science Standards will be released this December by Achieve, the organization […]

Do Higher Science Standards Lead to Higher Achievement?

In a recent article in Scientific American, it was suggested that the U.S. should adopt higher standards in science, and that all 50 states should adopt them. When you check the literature on science standards, the main reason for aiming for higher standards (raising the bar) is because in the “Olympics” of international academic test […]

In Math and Science, Have American students Fallen Behind?

Is science and mathematics teaching inferior to science teaching in Singapore, South Korea, and Finland?  Have American students fallen behind in math and science? In the 2008 and 2012,  Science Debate asked presidential candidates (as well as congressional candidates) why have American students fallen behind in science and mathematics and what role should the federal government […]

In Math and Science, Have American students Fallen Behind?

Is science and mathematics teaching inferior to science teaching in Singapore, South Korea, and Finland?  Have American students fallen behind in math and science? In the 2008 and 2012,  Science Debate asked presidential candidates (as well as congressional candidates) why have American students fallen behind in science and mathematics and what role should the federal government […]

What are People Saying About the Next Generation Science Standards?

The Next Generation Science Standards came online last week, and some of us have read and explored Achieve’s website.  It’s a massive site, so much so that there is a video on how to use the website. What are people saying about the new standards?  Do they like what they see?  Do they think that the […]

Are Next Generation Science Standards a Brick Wall or a Bridge to Learning?

Are Next Generation Science Standards a Brick Wall or a Bridge to Learning?  After a review of the new standards, one has to wonder. Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, suggested that brick walls are there for a reason.  The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there […]

The Predicted Effects of the Common Core: Implications for Next Generation Science Standards

According to Achieve, the U.S. system of science and mathematics education is performing  below par, and if something isn’t done, then millions of students will not be prepared to compete in the global economy.  Achieve cites achievement data from PISA and NAEP to make its case that American science and mathematics teaching is in horrible […]

Creationism and Intelligent Design make Stealth Appearances in Louisiana and Tennessee Science Classrooms

Over the past four years, two states have passed laws that protect teachers if they present scientific information pertaining to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in applicable curricula or in a course of learning.  Protecting teachers?  Have these legislators heard of VAM?  No protection of teachers here. What is […]

Peddling Panic: Biased Survey Promotes National Science Standards

Achieve, Inc. stands to make a lot of money for its work creating new science standards. It might not surprise us, therefore, that a survey they commissioned favors the adoption of these standards. But we need to look at these results with skepticism. Does US competitiveness depend on our rankings on test scores? And will new […]

Is There an Assault on Public Education and (Science) Teaching

There is an unrivaled assault on the teaching profession.  It  emerged and has sustained itself when education policy makers convinced themselves that public education should be based on standards driven accountability model, combined with high-stakes testing. The goal of this model of education is to improve student achievement test scores in mathematics, reading, and science. […]

The Radical Idea of Helping Students Construct Their Own Ideas

Helping students construct their own ideas is considered by some educators a subversive idea that runs counter to the present impetus of the Race to the Top and NCLB Waivers. These Federal programs, especially NCLB, have created a narrowing of the curriculum, a data-driven, test-based school culture, and the despicable use of student tests as […]

Do Standards Impede Science Teaching and Learning?

Over the next few weeks I am going to focus on standards- and test-based educational reform with an eye toward opening a conversation about how standards and high-stakes tests might actually impede science teaching and learning. We begin by examining the science standards, which have been an integral part of science education since the publication […]

Fordham Institute Review of the State Science Standards: Use with Caution!

The Fordham Institute published The State of State Science Standards 2012, a document that details evaluations of the science standards developed by each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, and even the NAEP.   The 217 page report includes an evaluation of each state’s science standards.  The authors evaluated each state by assigning a score to […]

Quality Science Teaching

The No Child Left Behind Act is linked to the data that shows schools in California are teaching less science because teachers are pressured to prepare students for the required math and English high-stakes tests. Valerie Strauss writes that Virginia is moving to require that students would only be required to take tests in math […]

2011 Science Education E-Books from the Art of Teaching Science

This blog was begun in 2005 with the publication of the first edition of The Art of Teaching Science.  Six hundred or so posts later, we find ourselves in at the end of 2011. This year, we published four eBooks based on blog posts made during 2011.  More eBooks will be published in 2012.  The […]

Effects of the Corporate Reform Movement on Science Teaching

If Mayor Michael Bloomberg had his way, he told students at M.I.T. that he would fire half the teachers in New York City, pay them twice as much to teach classes double the current size.  One of the Corporate Reform Movement slogans is weed out ineffective teachers.  Bloomberg’s theory is if we fire half of […]

On the Practice of Science Inquiry

Science As Inquiry, a construct developed in a recent publication, weaves together ideas about science teaching and inquiry that were developed over many years of work with practicing science teachers in the context of seminars conducted around the U.S.A, in school district staff development seminars, and courses that I taught at Georgia State University. Science […]

In High Stakes Testing, Science Trumped by Math & Reading

This is a post I wrote five years ago today, and it sheds some light on the pressure that school districts experience as a result of high-stakes testing.  In particular, I draw attention to Atlanta cheating scandal which appears to have had its origins about five years ago when I first wrote this post.  There […]

In High Stakes Testing, Science Trumped by Math & Reading

This is a post I wrote five years ago today, and it sheds some light on the pressure that school districts experience as a result of high-stakes testing.  In particular, I draw attention to Atlanta cheating scandal which appears to have had its origins about five years ago when I first wrote this post.  There […]

9 Compelling Science, Technology & Education Blogs

There is a profusion of blogs on the Internet, but some of them stand out because they are not only compelling, but they convey accomplished, artful, intelligent, and powerful content.  I’ve selected nine blogs that I read regularly to expand my own thinking about science teaching, technology and education.   They represent the range of […]

9 Compelling Science, Technology & Education Blogs

There is a profusion of blogs on the Internet, but some of them stand out because they are not only compelling, but they convey accomplished, artful, intelligent, and powerful content.  I’ve selected nine blogs that I read regularly to expand my own thinking about science teaching, technology and education.   They represent the range of […]

Can Inquiry Continue to be a Primary Goal of Science Teaching?

Can science as inquiry continue to be a primary goal of science teaching in the burgeoning culture of common standards, and high-stakes testing? This is a question that I raised about a year and half ago. I am returning to the question now since the National Research Council released its report entitled A Framework for K-12 […]

The Enigma of High-Stakes Testing in Science: A New eBook

The Art of Teaching Science has just published a new eBook entitled The Enigma of High-Stakes Testing in Science. The Enigma of High-Stakes Testing in Science is a new eBook published by the Art of Teaching Science Weblog, and made available free. This eBook is based on blog posts that were written over the past […]

Does the NCLB Act mean less time for science teaching?

The No Child Left Behind Act is linked to the data that shows schools in California are teaching less science because teachers are pressured to prepare students for the required math and English high-stakes tests. Valerie Strauss writes that Virginia is moving to require that students would only be required to take tests in math […]

Preparing for a Science Fair Project: An Animation Project

I was informed by Bryan Temmer, that his son Kevin, created a 15 minute animation short that explains how to do a science fair project for one of high school technology projects. Starring Jessica and Jack, the animation, done completely by the author, is a very good program for introducing students to the elements of […]

If We Ban High Stakes Testing, How Can We Assess Learning in Science?

High stakes testing should not be used to make significant decisions about student performance (achievement in a course, passing a course, being promoted, graduating) and should be banned.  In this post we explore formative assessment methods, and show how teachers to make decisions and judgments about student achievement should use a combination of formative and […]

If We Ban High Stakes Testing, How Can We Assess Learning in Science?

High stakes testing should not be used to make significant decisions about student performance (achievement in a course, passing a course, being promoted, graduating) and should be banned.  In this post we explore formative assessment methods, and show how teachers to make decisions and judgments about student achievement should use a combination of formative and […]

The Consequence of Banning High-Stakes Testing in (Science)

American education in general, and science education specifically have been radically and negatively impacted by high-stakes testing. High-stakes testing, as set forth in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), is the idea that the pressure of such tests will increase student achievement.  But one of the major studies cited here finds that the pressure […]

Why Science Educators Need to Oppose High-Stakes Testing

There are many reasons that we can site to oppose the use of high-stakes testing in American schools.  Yesterday, I reported on a case in Florida in which several middle school teachers decided not to do hands-on, inquiry-based activities with their students.  These science teachers decided that a more direct instruction approach was called for, […]

Why Science Educators Need to Oppose High-Stakes Testing

There are many reasons that we can site to oppose the use of high-stakes testing in American schools.  Yesterday, I reported on a case in Florida in which several middle school teachers decided not to do hands-on, inquiry-based activities with their students.  These science teachers decided that a more direct instruction approach was called for, […]

Review of the NRC’s Framework for K-12 Science Education

The Carnegie Corporation of New York, which funded the National Research Council’s project  A Framework for K-12 Science Education, also provided the financial support for the Fordham Foundation’s review of NRC Framework.  Although not a conflict of interest for the Fordham Foundation, it does raise questions about the Carnegie Foundation’s desire to fund an evaluation of […]

Review of the NRC's Framework for K-12 Science Education

The Carnegie Corporation of New York, which funded the National Research Council’s project  A Framework for K-12 Science Education, also provided the financial support for the Fordham Foundation’s review of NRC Framework.  Although not a conflict of interest for the Fordham Foundation, it does raise questions about the Carnegie Foundation’s desire to fund an evaluation of […]

Achieving a New Generation of Science Standards Published!

The latest in a series of science teaching eBooks was published today and is available from The Art of Teaching Science blog. You can download a free copy of Achieving a New Generation of Science Standards here.

New eBook: Achieving a New Generation of Common Science Standards

This week, The Art of Teaching Science will publish its third eBook on science education topics based on blog posts at this site.  The new eBook is entitled Achieving a New Generation of Common Science Standards.  The eBook will be published tomorrow, and will be free to all who visit this blog. The following text […]

The Race To Write The Next Generation of Science Standards

There is another “race to the top” in education, but this time it’s the race to develop a new generation of science standards. Twenty states will collaborate with Achieve, a standards writing organization that uses donated funds from large corporations and foundations to carry out its tasks. There is a lot of excitement, especially for […]

The Race To Write The Next Generation of Science Standards

There is another “race to the top” in education, but this time it’s the race to develop a new generation of science standards. Twenty states will collaborate with Achieve, a standards writing organization that uses donated funds from large corporations and foundations to carry out its tasks. There is a lot of excitement, especially for […]

Misconceptions about International Math & Science Test Scores

Why is it that the perception of science education in the U.S. (and other countries as well) is driven by rankings of students on international test score comparisons?  The perception is that U.S. students are not competitive in the global market place because of their position in the rankings of the scores obtained on tests […]

Misconceptions about International Math & Science Test Scores

Why is it that the perception of science education in the U.S. (and other countries as well) is driven by rankings of students on international test score comparisons?  The perception is that U.S. students are not competitive in the global market place because of their position in the rankings of the scores obtained on tests […]

Extreme Earth: A new science teaching eBook

The second in a series of science teaching eBooks was published today on the Art of Teaching Science Website.  Entitled Extreme Earth, this eBook explores questions such as: Are the extremes of weather related phenomena such as flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought and fires, as well as major and great earthquakes in heavily populated areas the […]

Transform your Science Education Blog Posts into eBooks

A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to mine my weblog to identify topics and content that could be used to create science education eBooks.  I have nearly 600 posts written over the past seven years, but I didn’t have an easy way to do transform them into eBooks. I wondered whether there […]

First Art of Science Teaching eBook Published

The first in a series of science education eBooks was published today.  The title is Why Do We Teach Science?  You can access the eBook at the link on the top menu, or follow this link. Why do we teach science? is the first of a series of science education eBooks that will be published, and made available […]

Some Reasons why the national standards movement is not good for learning

For several years, I have written about the National Standards Movement, and in general, have been critical of the movement, and suggested that in a liberal democracy such as our, common standards seems to the antithesis of our beliefs in the education of citizens. Sometime ago, I wrote this about standards: Standards represent the dogmatism […]

Science and Religion, The FaradaySchools.com

A recent poll reported that very few people in the US accept the theory of evolution as a valid explanation for the creation of life on Earth.  According to the National Center for Science Education, in a 24-country poll, 41% of the respondents identified themselves as “evolutionists” and 28% as “creationists”, and 31% indicating they […]

4 Aspects of the Artistry of Science Teaching

In our view, teaching is professional artistry.  As such, not only is your work as a science teacher an artistic one, but the way teachers are educated should also embrace professional artistry. Many years ago, I was working on a book with Joe Abruscato entitled The Whole Cosmos Catalog of Science Activities, and during this […]

Does Sending Scientists into Classrooms Help?

There is an interesting discussion right now on the NARST (National Association for Research in Science Teaching) list about the relative impact of bringing scientists into science classrooms, K-8. As one researcher said, it all depends on what goals you have in mind for a visit by a scientist. In this researcher’s case, the goal […]

9 Questions About Science Teaching I was Asked by a High School Student

An email from a high school student resulted in my taking a final examination about science education.  A student from a high school in Long Island wrote and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed for a book the student was writing about education. Here are the questions and my answers.  The questions […]

Three Web 2.0 Science Projects for Your Science Courses

Web 2.0 refers to using the Web in a more interactive, and social way where students can create, share, publish and work together in collaborative groups.  Over the years, science teachers have created a variety of Web 2.0 projects for K-12 students. This post is to announce the availability of three Web 2.0 projects that […]

In a Liberal Democracy, Can Inquiry Science Teaching Flourish with Common Standards?

Can science as inquiry continue to be a primary goal of science teaching in the burgeoning culture of creating common standards, and common high-stakes assessments? This is a question that I raised about a year and half ago. I am returning to the question now since the National Research Council just released its report entitled […]

5 Attributes of the Framework for K-12 Science Education

According to the committee that drafted and wrote the final edition of the Framework for K-12 Science Education, American science education needs a complete overhaul, currently lacks vision, and does not prepare students for a scientifically and technologically-based society. Helen Quinn, Chair of the National Research Council’s Conceptual Framework for K – 12 Science Education […]

5 Criticisms of the Framework for K-12 Science Education

The standards devote insufficient attention to the need for an interdisciplinary curriculum, and represent a contracted view of the “common core” that disregards the role of schools in preparing students for citizenship.  William G. Wraga, Professor, University of Georgia as quoted in Education Week You probably know that the National Research Council has published A […]

Science as Inquiry Update

The revision to Science As Inquiry has been completed and it should be published and available at the end of June 2011. To get a feel for what is in the book, you are invited to visit the Science as Inquiry Website. Here is a screen shot of part of the first page of the […]

Why do we teach science?: Voices from the classroom

My students are not passive learners of science, they ARE scientists. They embrace the idea that they are empowered to own their learning. In addition to creating a love of learning within my students, I am intentional about equipping students with wonder, teamwork strategies, and problem-solving skills for jobs that may not exist yet. Kareen […]

Top Blogs in Science Teaching

The Art of Teaching Science has been identified as one of 15 top science teaching blogs by Maria Magher’s blog.  We are very thrilled to be one of the weblogs on Maria’s list.  There you will find a collection of science teaching blogs that you might find relevant to your work.  I’ve visited all of […]

Global Warming: It's Only a Theory & Balanced Treatment in South Dakota Science Classrooms

Yesterday, I reported that the South Dakota state legislature moved a bill along that calls for a balanced teaching of global warming, “especially since global warming is a scientific theory and not a proven fact,” to quote HR1009.  This notion of using “theory” in science as not being viable, or as having not gone through […]

Global Warming: It’s Only a Theory & Balanced Treatment in South Dakota Science Classrooms

Yesterday, I reported that the South Dakota state legislature moved a bill along that calls for a balanced teaching of global warming, “especially since global warming is a scientific theory and not a proven fact,” to quote HR1009.  This notion of using “theory” in science as not being viable, or as having not gone through […]

Science Teaching in Film and Video

Last week I received emails from colleagues that believe that film and video make a strong contribution to the public understanding of science.  The three emails reflect as many ways that film and video are used in science education. The first email was from Dr. Bill Hammack, the Engineerguy at the University of Illinois.  I […]

Science Teaching at Botby Högstadieskolas: An Experiment in Teaching Science as an Optional Course

Would it be viable to offer science as an optional subject? What would happen to enrollment in science if it were an optional course? Would students sign up for such a course? How could the course be structured to interest students in wanting to take the course? In this post, I am going to feature […]

Images from the Art of Science Teaching Weblog

The Art of Science Teaching Weblog is a place to discuss issues related to science teaching.  In today’s post, you will find a link to a Youtube movie comprised of many of the images and pictures that I’ve used in previous posts. I hope you enjoy the images, and the music.

Top Ten Weblog Posts in 2009 from The Art of Teaching Science: A Dedication to My Friend Dr. Joe Abruscato

This first weblog post for the year 2010 is dedicated to my science education colleague, writing partner, and dear friend, Dr. Joseph Abruscato. I’ll write about Joe in my next post, but I want to honor him here by identifying topics that motivated me this past year, and that I know would have been central […]

Progressive Science Education

I have been reading and have referenced on this weblog the October 2009 special issue of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching (JRST) on the topic/theme “Scientific Literacy and Contexts in PISA Science.”  The articles in the special issue provide a broad view of international testing as conceived in PISA, as well as the […]

Health Care in the US: An S-T-S Issue for the Science Classroom?

Health care has emerged as one of the most contentious issues of the day in the USA. The contention is not new. This PBS time line covering the past 100 years identifies points of contention and progress in the government’s attempt to deal with health care on a national level. A more informative time line […]

From Sputnik to Sagan: Some Views on Science

I decided to obtain a copy of Unscientific America by Mooney and Kirshenbaum via my Kindle App on my iPhone, and started reading immediately.  A few days later, the book arrived.  In an early part of the book, “the rise and cultural decline of American science,” the authors have a chapter entitled: From Sputnik to […]

Science Teaching 3.0

In his book The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman used the terms Globalization 1.0, Globalization 2.0, and Globalization 3.0 as a way to compare and contrast three great eras of globalization. In the fabric of the World Wide Web, people have been using the term Web 2.0 to describe the most recent way in which […]

Dear Mr. President: The Need for Meaningful Reform in Science Teaching

We know you have a lot on your plate—a deep recession, two wars in the Middle East, health care reform, extreme partisanship, the fast spreading swine flu. Yet the one area that that is essential to our well being as a nation–education–has yet to become center stage. I know it is a high priority of […]

Junk Science: The Texas Board’s Approach to Teaching

If you hand the teaching of science over to the Texas Board of Education, what you get in the end is junk science. For several months now, the Texas Board of Education has been involved in deciding upon a final draft for the new science standards for the state of Texas. The final set of […]

Junk Science: The Texas Board's Approach to Teaching

If you hand the teaching of science over to the Texas Board of Education, what you get in the end is junk science. For several months now, the Texas Board of Education has been involved in deciding upon a final draft for the new science standards for the state of Texas. The final set of […]