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THE CHANGING SCIENCE CURRICULUM

D r M arlow E diger Truman State University

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Science, as a curriculum area, has gone through many changes recently with the on­ coming o f the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), as well as the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Science is a pari o f everyday life which individuals experience. Even the drying up of a puddle o f water after a rainfall has a defi­ nite scientific explanation. We certainly live in a world o f science. Science has brought on tremendous changes in society with improved medical findings and services thus promoting a longer and healthier life span for many; labor saving devices with automation and hydraulic/electrical devices to perform work; automatic teller machines for instant access cash, as well as online banking services; farming with air conditioned cabs on tractors and combines, and hydraulic lifts for plowing and seeding. Heavy manual labor has been eliminaded or greatly minimized.

A modem science curriculum must be in the offing for each pupil in the school setting. This is vital to prepare learners for college as well as the work place.

Developing the Science Curriculum Inquiry learning is at the heart of ongo­

ing science lessons and units o f study. This is opposite o f rote learning. With inquiry learning, pupils achieve facts, concepts, and generalizations indepth. Questions raised by pupils need to be encouraged which stimulate achievement and aid in the inquiry process. The identified questions might well lead into problem solve experiences. Problems here

need to possess clarity so that an ensuing hypothesis might be developed which is ca­ pable o f being tested. A variety o f experienc­ es provide the testing experience in that the hypothesis results in being accepted, rejected, or need o f modification. This takes time to develop the hypothesis, test it, and assess the results. The process cannot be hurried since much data gathering is involved in each o f these flexible steps (Ediger, 2013).

It becomes necessary to reflect upon the processes and notice which actions come next in sequence as well as what needs to be im­ proved upon from previous experiences. Re­ flective thinking is a highly worthwhile goal for all in the societal realm. It assists one to review/rehearse previous actions in terms of making possible revisions. Also, knowledge and skills are put to use in these situations.

Reflection, too, aids in arriving at what is truly salient to learn. Structural ideas are poi­ gnant in any academic discipline, science in­ cluded. Structure provides a foundation which provides support for ensuing objectives being achieved. New ideas acquired then become related to the structure. Thus, supporting ideas or a broadening o f structural content is in the offing. Supporting ideas provide a firmer struc­ ture since they strengthen the structure.

Experimentation needs to be central in on­ going science lessons and units of study. Pu­ pils with teacher guidance need to be involved in setting up and doing the experiments. One variable needs to be tested at a given time which then eliminates others. The experiment needs to be clearly visible to all who are par­ ticipating. Learners must hypothesize as to

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outcomes but not jum p to hasty conclusions. Careful and meticulous observation is need­ ed. Hindrances to pupil achievement need to be eliminated so that pupils might focus upon the objectives. Testing the hypothesis and reaching accurate conclusions are necessary to secure valid and reliable results. The exper­ iment or a related one may be done to check conclusions realized. Subject matter from other reputable, developmental sources may also enter in to the discussion. This might well include basal textbook sources.

When reading science subject matter, meaning is salient; otherwise it delimits comprehension. Indepth comprehension is the major objective o f reading. Pupils need to be able to verify their answers to questions/ problems when reading content. The science teacher must be a teacher o f reading to assist pupils in fluent reading. This involves word recognition which might cause problems to selected students. Thus, the teacher needs to guide pupils in utilizing

• structural analysis in word identi­ fication in that a word given by the learner for the unknown makes sense contextually in relationship to sur­ rounding words

• phonics whereby a pupil sounds out letters in the unknown word to come up with the correct word.

• picture clues, especially for the young child in which illustrations appear on almost every page o f science content. The illustration may prove the correct word for the unknown by reading the related pictures.

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