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Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science
Chapter 10, "Professional Associations and U.S. Government Organizations," highlights about 120 institutions engaged in active efforts to provide information, services, or materials for the enhancement of elementary science teaching. These listings represent many scientific fields—physics, biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy, entomology, and others. A teacher needing support in a certain scientific area will likely find a source of professional help through these annotations.
The annotations in chapter 10 present information in two categories: "Programs/services" and "Publications/materials." Within these categories there is wide variety, again reflecting the diversity of the organizations themselves.
In "Programs/services," readers will find, for example, mention of in-service workshops on space topics for teachers nationwide; databases of experts in various scientific fields who are available for teacher-scientist partnerships, classroom demonstrations, and student mentoring; information hotlines; and conferences and seminars for teachers. Also mentioned (and highlighted in boldface type) are formal programs such as the National Science Foundation's Teacher Enhancement Program, the Community Service Centers Project of the Quality Education for Minorities Network, and the Saturday Workshop Program of the Gifted Child Society. The "Publications/materials" category identifies such forms of assistance as periodicals, curriculum units and guidelines, catalogs, and audiovisual and computer-based materials.
Programs and organizations that serve as centralized sources of information—for example, clearinghouses and networks—are included in chapter 10. There are also annotations for groups of facilities, such as the U.S. Department of Energy's national laboratories and specialized facilities, that offer science education programs. Such listings can provide teachers with a starting point for a productive search for particular information or assistance.
The information on professional organizations in chapter 10 was gathered through a formal survey conducted by the NSRC. The material on federal organizations draws on information in the directory of federal resources in mathematics and science education, Guidebook to Excellence, produced by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education.
It was not possible to include every organization or facility that might provide assistance, materials, and information for hands-on, inquiry-centered science teaching. Readers are encouraged to utilize what is presented here and to seek out additional sources suitable to meeting their needs for professional development and for assistance in the classroom.
Because some of the detailed information presented in these annotations will inevitably change with time, chapters 9 and 10 should be treated as starting points for gathering further information. Teachers will want to contact the organizations listed to arrange for class visits and to obtain specific information, such as dates and duration of classes, workshops, and other programs; any costs involved; exact descriptions of items listed here in somewhat generic categories—"teacher's guide," "field trip," and so forth. By following up on information in chapters 9 and 10, individual teachers, schools, or school systems might significantly enhance the effectiveness of their science education efforts.