depends on the ultimate sharing and debating of ideas. When carefully guided by teachers to ensure full participation by all, interactions among individuals and groups in the classroom can be vital in deepening the understanding of scientific concepts and the nature of scientific endeavors. The size of a group depends on age, resources, and the nature of the inquiry.

Teachers of science must decide when and for what purposes to use whole-class instruction, small-group collaboration, and individual work. For example, investigating simple electric circuits initially might best be explored individually. As students move toward building complex circuits, small group interactions might be more effective to share ideas and materials, and a full-class discussion then might be used to verify experiences and draw conclusions.

The plans of teachers provide opportunities for all students to learn science. Therefore, planning is heavily dependent on the teacher's awareness and understanding of the diverse abilities, interests, and cultural backgrounds of students in the classroom. Planning also takes into account the social structure of the classroom and the challenges posed by diverse student groups. Effective planning includes sensitivity to student views that might conflict with current scientific knowledge and strategies that help to support alternative ways of making sense of the world while developing the scientific explanations.

Teachers plan activities that they and the students will use to assess the understanding and abilities that students hold when they begin a learning activity. In addition, appropriate ways are designed to monitor the development of knowledge, understanding, and abilities as students pursue their work throughout the academic year.

[See Program Standard F]

WORK TOGETHER AS COLLEAGUES WITHIN AND ACROSS DISCIPLINES AND GRADE LEVELS. Individual and collective planning is a cornerstone of science teaching; it is a vehicle for professional support and growth. In the vision of science education described in the Standards, many planning decisions are made by groups of teachers at grade and building levels to construct coherent and articulated programs within and across grades. Schools must provide teachers with time and access to their colleagues and others who can serve as resources if collaborative planning is to occur.

Teaching Standard B

Teachers of science guide and facilitate learning. In doing this, teachers

  • Focus and support inquiries while interacting with students.

  • Orchestrate discourse among students about scientific ideas.

  • Challenge students to accept and share responsibility for their own learning.

  • Recognize and respond to student diversity and encourage all students to participate fully in science learning.

  • Encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry, as well as the curiosity, openness to new ideas and data, and skepticism that characterize science.

Coordinating people, ideas, materials, and the science classroom environment are

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