Seeing Students Learn Science Integrating Assessment and Instruction in the Classroom (2017)
Science educators in the United States are adapting to a new vision of how students learn science. Children are natural explorers, and their observations and intuitions about the world around them are the foundation for science learning. Unfortunately, the way science has been taught in the United States has not always taken advantage of those attributes. Some students who successfully complete their K–12 science classes have not really had the chance to “do” science for themselves in ways that harness their natural curiosity and understanding of the world around them. A 2012 report, A Framework for K–12 Science Education, described a way to teach science (see Box P-1). Many educators were already familiar with the ideas in this framework, but it offered specific guidance about what the results of decades of research mean for classroom practice. Many districts and states are using the ideas in that report to make changes that will engage students in thinking and solving problems the way scientists and engineers do and will help them better see how science is relevant to their lives. This approach capitalizes on the natural curiosity all students have about the world around them and helps educators provide varied learning experiences that offer entry points for students from diverse backgrounds. The 2012 framework served as the blueprint for the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Many states, schools, and districts are changing curriculum, instruction, and professional development to align with these standards or others that are based on the framework. Some states that have not adopted the NGSS are using the 2012 framework to adapt their own standards to these ideas about how students learn science.