Our Hawaii schools are expected to transition to the Next Generation Science Standards by 2020, and if implemented correctly, students will be actively sciencing rather than just learning science concepts through books. It will not be easy because many of us who became elementary educators do not have strong backgrounds in science.
Recently, Alvin Lin (@teampueo), a Science Resource Teacher funded through a DoDEA grant. "introduced" the shift to our complex area principals. As an administrator, my professional development generally focuses on leadership issues or mandatory trainings. This presentation was a breath of fresh air! We were scientists, making observations about "Mystery Fish." I loved the time spent working with my partner, exploring, discovering, and taking notes on our observations. As I looked around the room, I noticed that all of us adults were absorbed in what we were doing and having FUN! If anything, the time for exploration was much too short!
Alvin then shared a "Tale of Two Classrooms." The results were surprising but at the same time, not surprising. (If you want to read the Bertelsmann Foundation study, here's a link.) The main point of this study: Make learning stick! Stand and deliver is not enough; learning must be student-centered, relevant, and process-based.
Back in 2012, I blogged about an exciting project our students were participating in. ("Science is an Adventure") Unfortunately, the sea urchin project lasted for just two years, but this is an example of the kind of sciencing that makes learning stick. With guidance from experts like Alvin Lin, and by collaborating with their colleagues and learning from each other, I am optimistic that our teachers will make the shift to NGSS and teach students to science.