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Science Teachers Need New Methods

by Jessica Morrison
January 25, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 4

Opportunities to improve classroom curricula and obtain professional development are fewer for middle and elementary school science teachers than high school science teachers and for those in districts with higher percentages of low-income students, says a report from the National Academies. The adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards in 2013 represented a shift in science curricula meant to unify the concepts, core ideas, and scientific practices that K–12 students are taught nationwide. “Many science teachers will need to alter the way they teach to achieve this new vision of the science education of K–12 students,” says Suzanne Wilson, who chaired the committee that prepared the report. But the challenges that teachers face and the support they receive in adopting and implementing new teaching methods differ by grade level and district income, the National Academies found. The report recommends that district leaders embed professional development opportunities for teachers within the workday, develop external partnerships with scientists, and choose learning opportunities for teachers on the basis of the best available research.

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