Monster Seminar Jam - Science education and the future shortage of scientific thinkers: Local solutions to a problem that affects us all
Dr. Ashley Steel, Res. Biol., Environmental Conservation Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Science is not a series of facts but an exciting process. It is essential that we teach students this process of generating and evaluating new information; however, the proportion of the U.S. population with adequate training in math and science is so low as to cause considerable concern. Sixty percent of Washington State students failed the standardized science assessment test (WASL) in 5th grade and in 10th grade over each of the past three years. A cornerstone of the WASL is the assessment of scientific inquiry skills, e.g., stating a hypothesis and drawing conclusions from data. These key scientific concepts are not being taught to American students. Students need these skills not only for conducting science but also for evaluating information and making decisions in all aspects of life.
While there is a national crisis, there are also promising local solutions. We have developed and published The Truth About Science, a curriculum that teaches students to ask testable hypotheses, design unbiased methods, conduct statistics, and communicate their results. I will present an overview of the curriculum and a recent NOAA-funded professional development course for local teachers. I will describe other successful local projects and put forth examples of how we can work collectively to improve math and science education in this country. Understanding the current crisis in math and science education as well as the potential for positive change can enable everyone involved in science, politics, and education to contribute to the development of exceptional local and national education systems.
Date and Time:
October 18, 2007,
10:30 am - 12:30 pm