Teachers must be given the resources and authority to select the most appropriate materials and to make decisions about when, where, and how to make them accessible. Such decisions balance safety, proper use, and availability with the need for students to participate actively in designing experiments, selecting tools, and constructing apparatus, all of which are critical to the development of an understanding of inquiry.
It is also important for students to learn how to access scientific information from books, periodicals, videos, databases, electronic communication, and people with expert knowledge. Students are also taught to evaluate and interpret the information they have acquired through those resources. Teachers provide the opportunity for students to use contemporary technology as they develop their scientific understanding.
IDENTIFY AND USE RESOURCES OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL. The classroom is a limited environment. The school science program must extend beyond the walls of the school to the resources of the community. Our nation's communities have many specialists, including those in transportation, health-care delivery, communications, computer technologies, music, art, cooking, mechanics, and many other fields that have scientific aspects. Specialists often are available as resources for classes and for individual students. Many communities have access to science centers and museums, as well as to the science communities in higher education, national laboratories, and industry; these can contribute greatly to the understanding of science and encourage students to further their interests outside of school. In addition, the physical environment in and around the school can be used as a living laboratory for the study of natural phenomena. Whether the school is located in a
The school science program must extend beyond the walls of the school to the resources of the community.
densely populated urban area, a sprawling suburb, a small town, or a rural area, the environment can and should be used as a resource for science study. Working with others in their school and with the community, teachers build these resources into their work with students.
ENGAGE STUDENTS IN DESIGNING THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT. As part of challenging students to take responsibility for their learning, teachers involve them in the design and management of the learning environment. Even the youngest students can and should participate in discussions and decisions about using time and space for work. With this sharing comes responsibility for care of space and resources. As students pursue their inquiries, they need access to resources and a voice in determining what is needed. The more independently students can access what they need, the more they can take responsibility for their own work. Students are also invaluable in identifying resources beyond the school.
Teachers of science develop communities of science learners that reflect the intellectual rigor of scientific inquiry and the attitudes and social values conducive