Virginia Association of Science Teachers

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  • JVSE Vol. 4 No. 1

In This Issue

Theme: Integrating Science Across Disciplines

From the Editor: Michele K. Lombard

  • "Considerations for Making Meaningful and Cross-Curricular Connections"  Gregory W. Corder

Abstract:   Cross-curricular connections to science instruction can result in a rich and meaningful learning experience for students. Several types of such connections are described. In addition, several considerations are discussed for effective curricular integration.

  • "Integrating Literature and Science Concepts into the Preschool Classroom"  Jenny Sue Flanagan and Heather Newton 

Abstract:  The moment a child is born, he or she starts learning. Although their minds are prepared to learn how to walk, talk, and interact with people in their lives, they are also prepared to learn about the world in which they live. Just give a young toddler a rock and suddenly the questions start flowing. Young children are curious about the world in which they live and they want to know how the world works and why it works the way it does. By tapping into this natural curiosity, preschool teachers can use science as the vehicle to create an environment in the classroom that encourages scientific questioning while infusing vocabulary development through the use of stories and the experiences in the hands-on science lessons.

  • "Applied, Interdisciplinary Approach to Student STEM Training and Development"  Anup Myneni and James Myers
Abstract:  The DEVELOP National Program is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate, Applied Sciences training and development program that extends the benefits of NASA Earth Science research and technology to society. DEVELOP fosters an interdisciplinary environment for students with varying educational backgrounds to work together in teams. Student teams conduct applied science research projects, mentored by advisors from NASA and partner organizations, which integrate multiple science disciplines. DEVELOP is unique in that students lead projects that focus on community concerns and public policy issues, as well as deliver research outcomes to customers. 
  • "So What’s This Achievement Gap about Anyway?"  Kathryn Ottolini, Juanita Jo Matkins, Jacqueline T. McDonnough, Kevin Goff 

Abstract:  In light of the clear achievement gap between students in low vs. high need U.S. public schools, I—the primary author—conducted a self-study to examine my own beliefs and about diverse student populations. Using current literature as an analytical lens, I examined my beliefs and those of other undergraduates participating in a summer internship program for prospective science and math teachers. Data sources included self-reflections, observations, and interviews of said interns. Like myself, interns tended to overlook differences in student race/ethnicity and have an under-developed sense of their own cultural identity. Additionally, several interns experienced breakthroughs in which they recognized the value of knowing their students and setting high expectations. These findings hold several implications for teacher preparation programs—namely that teacher education should facilitate reflection regarding cultural identity and beliefs about high need students. Moreover, course content in culturally responsive pedagogy should be linked to cultural immersion experiences in high need contexts.

  • "Good Morning from Barrow, Alaska!: Helping K-12 Students Understand the Importance of Research"  Mythianne Shelton 

Abstract:  This paper focuses on how an educator experiences scientific research and how those experiences can help foster K-12 students’ understanding of research being conducted in Barrow, Alaska. According to Zhang and Fulford (1994), real-time electronic field trips help to provide a sense of closeness and relevance. In combination with experts in the field, the electronic experience can help students to better understand the phenomenon being studied, thus strengthening the student’s conceptual knowledge (Zhang & Fulford, 1994). During a seven day research trip to study the changes in sea ice, five rural Virginia teachers and their students participated in Skype sessions with the participating educator and other members of the Radford University research team. The students were able to view what the conditions were like in Barrow, listen to members of the research team describe what their contributions were to the research, and ask questions about the research and Alaska in general. Collaborations between students and scientist can have long lasting benefits for both educators and students in promoting an understanding of the research process and understanding why our world is changing.

  • "The nature of science: Why it must be unequivocally taught in K-12 science education"  Jordan Galloway 

Abstract:  Due to the discretization of curriculum standards, K-12 science education is heavily comprised of discipline-specific content matter. An unfortunate consequence of this is less class time to focus on the true nature of science and its implications. This article reviews the basic tenets of science and reinforces the need for science educators to explicitly teach them. Unfortunately, it is an aspect of science that is too often overlooked. A thorough treatment of the nature of science, however, provides a fantastic opportunity for young minds to gain exposure to the pivotal role that science plays within our society.

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