Staying informed about rapidly changing fields like genetics and evolution can be challenging for today’s science teachers, and many are turning to online programs to help them keep pace. But even as the number of online professional development programs is growing, very little is known about their effectiveness.
Have you ever wondered why a cake rises? How the bubbles get in the soda bottle? What makes a bathtub boat float or sink? If you answered “yes” to any of these, you’re in good company. Educators from around the country recently gathered at the Children’s Museum in Boston to investigate questions like these, part of a national initiative to bring high-quality, hands-on science to thousands of children in afterschool programs around the country.
At first glance, Jane Parfitt’s pre-K classroom at the Highland Park Child Care Center in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, looks like any good preschool classroom. There’s the writing center and book corner, the dramatic play area, the blocks, easels, and cubbies. There’s the alphabet strung on the wall, along with quilts and family pictures.
Siobhan Bredin, project director of the National Science Foundation-funded ITEST (IT Experiences for Students and Teachers) Learning Resource Center at EDC, will address the United Nations this week, presenting five successful strategies for encouraging young women and girls to pursue skills and careers in science and technology.
Education Development Center (EDC) will host educators from 33 states who have cultivated youth interest in science and technology, to share their strategies after four years in a $73 million program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Participants in the Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program will talk about their projects and experiences at a symposium February 6-8, along with policymakers and research and business leaders interested in boosting youth interest in science-related careers.
High school biology needn’t be all about memorization and lab reports. EDC is crafting a free bioethics curriculum that will have students discussing such thought-provoking topics as genetic enhancement, clinical trials, vaccination, and genetic screening.
What does it take to close
the achievement gap in science? Researchers in EDC’s Center for Children & Families would tell you that real solutions involve starting early. They’ve developed Foundations of Science Literacy, a college-level science course for preschool teachers. Foundations introduces fundamental concepts in the physical sciences at the adult level along with strategies for making the material
fun and accessible for preschoolers.
Karen Worth, a senior researcher and longtime science educator at Education Development Center (EDC), has received the prestigious puRkwa Prize, an international award created to encourage innovative science education for young children. Worth traveled to France to receive the award in Ste Etienne at the highly regarded Ecole National Superieur des Mines de Ste Etienne, a graduate school for science and technology. She shares the 2006 prize with Wei Yu, a professor at China’s Nanjing University. Worth is a senior research scientist in EDC’s Center for Science Education.
For many students, science can seem “dark, murky, and unconquerable” says Jackie Miller of EDC’s Center for Science Education (CSE). The sometimes-difficult subject matter, the precision of experimentation, and the varying results that arise from the same set of conditions intimidate many students.
What caused the Hindenburg to explode? What happens if a runner drinks too much water during a race? How do you know if a powdery white substance is anthrax? These are some of the questions that ninth grade chemistry students wrestle with in Foundation Science, a new high school science curriculum developed by EDC.
A national initiative led by EDC’s Center for Science Education (CSE) and Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) in Berkeley, California, has recruited community program leaders across the country to help them implement high quality science and engineering activities in afterschool programs.
What caused the Hindenburg to explode in 1937? What happens if a runner drinks too much water during a long race? How do you determine if an envelope with a powdery white substance contains anthrax? These are some of the questions that ninth grade chemistry students wrestle with in Foundation Science, a new high school science curriculum developed by EDC.
At a time when many schools are being pushed to narrow their focus and concentrate on core academic subjects like reading and mathematics, afterschool programs are being pulled in a dozen different directions. Program directors wrestle with a range of questions as they try to meet the diverse needs of funders, parents, and the young people they serve. Should afterschool time be an extension of school, focused on tutoring and homework help? Or a break from school, focused on sports, fitness, arts, and hobbies?
Bernie Zubrowski has spent much of his professional life devising
ways to educate young people when they are out in the world, away from
the classroom. In more than 23 years with Boston’s Children’s Museum
and other museums in the United States, Great Britain, India, Sweden,
and Bahrain—and in several EDC projects—Zubrowski’s quest has led him
to design activities that illuminate scientific principles with very
EDC has been selected by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as a lead organization to implement the Assistance to Basic Education (ABE/BE) initiative, USAID’s new Indefinite Quantity Contract mechanism to support quality basic education around the world.
As fewer young people opt for careers in science, technology, engineering,
and mathematics (STEM), the National Science Foundation has funded
EDC to develop a resource designed to engage young people in career
exploration and development.
New educational methods inevitably set off debates, and
“inquiry science instruction” provides a classic case. Over the
past two decades, proponents of inquiry science, sometimes
referred to as “hands-on science,” laud it as an engaging
and interactive teaching method. Critics lambaste it as an
absence of instruction, unconcerned about scientific facts or
Generating classroom discussions with high school students can be arduous work, requiring both careful planning and quick thinking. EDC’s Center for Science Education has developed an online course focused on helping teachers pose questions and manage classroom discussions that are both more engaging for students and more scientific in substance.
Improving the quality of teaching and professional development for early childhood educators is the focus of two new grants awarded to EDC by the U.S. Department of Education. The awards, which total about $4 million, were issued to EDC’s
Bernie Zubrowski, a longtime science educator at the Newton-based Education Development Center, has been awarded the SB&F Prize for Excellence by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his "distinguished contribution to the world of children’s hands-on science books." Zubrowski received the award at the recent AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.