In This Issue
Theme: Creating Quality Science Programs
From the Editor: Anne Mannarino
Abstract: Scientific visualizations of phenomena can enhance the way learners understand scientific concepts (Honey & Hilton, 2011). Scientific concepts can be abstract and difficult for students to understand and visualizations can help make these abstract concepts more concrete for students. For example, chemistry students often struggle with understanding how atoms bond since they cannot directly see atoms. Using a visualization to show students how the electrons are shared or transferred can help students understand these abstract concepts. In addition, many visualizations are freely available online and can be a key element to maintain quality science instruction with limited resources.
Abstract: Curiosity, along with a thousand questions, is the start to a preschooler’s journey as they begin to explore the world of science. As educators, it is our job to stimulate and provide experiences that will allow children to grow into emerging young scientists. One of the struggles early childhood programs face is budget constraints and the ability to provide resources on a “shoestring budget”. Early childhood teachers are left with minimal resources at times and thinking outside the box takes on a whole new perspective. All you want to do is deliver that amazing science lesson that is sure to capture the children’s hearts, but there isn’t any money left. Partnering with community organizations is a great way to supplement resources for providing a well-planned and exceptional unit on science that will leave children talking and asking a lot more questions.
Abstract: Service-learning provides opportunities for science educators to gain access to community resources, enhance student learning outcomes, and assist with providing solutions to community problems. This article will explore how GreenSTEM@VCU is training middle school teachers in Virginia to use service-learning projects to facilitate the effective implementation of STEM curriculum.
Abstract: Many have discussed problems in the way we educate students in the sciences as a reason that we have a shortage of scientists. Science is often perceived as the difficult, lonely pursuit of white males in lab coats. This study examined how children perceive scientists. Children ranging in age from 8 to 12 years old were asked to draw a picture of a scientist. Drawings were coded using criteria developed by Chambers (1993) in his Draw-A-Scientist test. Examination of the data revealed that similar to Chambers’ findings, children held very stereotypical beliefs about scientists and what scientists do. After a week-long science camp where teachers made efforts to refer to the students as scientists, where the children interacted with practicing scientists of both sexes from different fields, and where the children participated in hands-on science experiments, the drawings changed to show fewer stereotypes when compared to their pretest images.
Abstract: Engineering practices occupy a prominent position in the new Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council, 2012); however, these practices are unknown to many science teachers. According to the Framework, science students must learn to understand and apply engineering practices (NRC, 2012). The major practice of engineers is product design, and this is best accomplished through computer-based modeling and simulation. The Simulation-Based Engineering and Science Teacher Professional Development Program and the CK-12 Modeling and simulation for high school teachers provide opportunities for teachers to learn how to incorporate modeling and simulation into instruction.
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