Changing Emphases

The National Science Education Standards envision change throughout the system. The science content standards encompass the following changes in emphases:

LESS EMPHASIS ON

MORE EMPHASIS ON

Knowing scientific facts and information

Understanding scientific concepts and developing abilities of inquiry

Studying subject matter disciplines (physical, life, earth sciences) for their own sake

Learning subject matter disciplines in the context of inquiry, technology, science in personal and social perspectives, and history and nature of science

Separating science knowledge and science process

Integrating all aspects of science content

Covering many science topics

Studying a few fundamental science concepts

Implementing inquiry as a set of processes

Implementing inquiry as instructional strategies, abilities, and ideas to be learned

CHANGING EMPHASES TO PROMOTE INQUIRY

 

LESS EMPHASIS ON

MORE EMPHASIS ON

Activities that demonstrate and verify science content

Activities that investigate and analyze science questions

Investigations confined to one class period

Investigations over extended periods of time

Process skills out of context

Process skills in context

Emphasis on individual process skills such as observation or inference

Using multiple process skills—manipulation, cognitive, procedural

Getting an answer

Using evidence and strategies for developing or revising an explanation

Science as exploration and experiment

Science as argument and explanation

Providing answers to questions about science content

Communicating science explanations

Individuals and groups of students analyzing and synthesizing data without defending a conclusion

Groups of students often analyzing and synthesizing data after defending conclusions

Doing few investigations in order to leave time to cover large amounts of content

Doing more investigations in order to develop understanding, ability, values of inquiry and knowledge of science content

Concluding inquiries with the result of the experiment

Applying the results of experiments to scientific arguments and explanations

Management of materials and equipment

Management of ideas and information

Private communication of student ideas and conclusions to teacher

Public communication of student ideas and work to classmates



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement