Archive by Author | caitlinschwagerl

Teaching Science for Socail Justice Book Review

Overall, we would not suggest Teaching Science for Social Justice to people interested in learning how to implement a social justice curriculum in the science classroom. Though our expectations may be partially to blame, this book did not focus on science in the classroom,rather it focuses on utilizing science in the community for a community building project. We can’t deny that the project that took place within the book was interesting and the anecdotes about the children involved were poignant at times, but, the book was redundant and dragged on. It was agreed upon that the chapters were too long and the book would be much improved if chapters were shorter, cut straight to the point and were more informative. Even though we did complete the book, we felt as a group that we could understand the whole gist of the book and the moral of the story in just two or three chapters. Because of this, it was necessary for us to depend upon other resources for discussion. 

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The Power of Language in Science Curriculum

The NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) is a program currently implemented in twenty six states across our nation. Next year, the state of North Carolina is going to be voting on the implementation of this science curriculum into our public school system. Because of this, our group thought it might be interesting to compare the current NC State Standards with the Next Generation Science Standards; specifically, the language used in the objectives and prompts. Right off the bat, it is easy to see very blatant differences in the wording of the two curriculums. The verbs used in the current NC curriculum outline lends itself to very passive instruction. Reading down a bulleted list of instructions you will see:

  • explain …
  • explain ….
  • explain …
  • summarize …
  • explain …
  • identify …

When you compare this to the the NGSS, you will see a much different pattern:

  • analyze …
  • develop a model …
  • plan …
  • conduct an inverstation …
  • construct an argument …

These verbs provide aid to help a teacher learn to engage her students. There is no doubt in my mind that the students of a teacher following the Next Generation curriculum will be much more invested and intrigued by science and the learning process when compared to a student being taught by the current North Carolina guidelines.

Because the curriculum is just a list of objectives and topics for teachers to cover, teachers can relay this information to their students in any way they desire. It is easier for teachers to just pass out worksheets and lecture in order to reach the standards that they need to reach rather than going out side and doing a larger project and getting students engaged. The NGSS standards are what I would expect a teacher like the one in our book to be using. These teachers created a large class project engaging the community- which is much more interactive and inquiry based than a standard classroom would be. To promote innovation in our classrooms, it is time for our state to adjust their standards.

Teaching Tolerance: Just Science

Summary of Assigned Reading:

-hidden curriculum–>  instead of teaching students solely science facts and statistics, make sure to also teach them how they can spread their knowledge of the social justice issues surrounding medical research
-take what you learned in science and go out into your community
-article brings up a lot of inequalities that existed in the community

Connection to class:
-ppl come from different backgrounds and experiences, have different resources available
-cant make assumptions as a teacher
-schools don’t always have the resources for science experiments and as a teacher we have to think of creative ways to engage our students with what is around them

Highlights of group discussion:
-Importance of science awareness
-our group was intrigued but he story of Henriette lacks

Questions to pose:
-How are you going to be able to work with what you have to engage your students in a creative way?
-How can you translate your in class science experiments to the community?

Mission Statement: Our mission statement hasn’t changed. Our article confirmed that we are on the right path to explore science education.

Next Weeks Reading: Ch..7: Building Communities in support of youth science practices. The article that we read this week is a perfect introduction to this chapter. The chapter focuses on teaching science in underprivileged area .

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