Perspectives for Advancing the Effectiveness of Elementary Science Instruction for Student Learning: Importance and Challenges

Presenters discuss how their projects contribute systemically to the design, implementation, and evaluation of quality elementary science programs.

Date/Time: 
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 9:45am to 11:45am
2014 Session Types: 
Collaborative Panel Session

Quality elementary science programs are faced with the challenge of adapting and/or building upon the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in order to provide an essential foundation for student learning and interest in science. As such, these science programs must address how the practices of science can be linked with cross-cutting concepts through meaningful learning contexts that, of necessity, evolve progressively across grades. Thus, the challenge for elementary science involves innovative curriculum design and assessment in conjunction with professional development models that support conceptually sound K–5 science instruction.

This session provides a forum through which NSF researchers, exploring a variety of approaches for improving elementary science, lead discussions—with active participant involvement—on how the ideas presented can contribute to the systemic development of quality science instruction and student learning. The discussion also addresses the potential impact of the present work for student achievement in STEM as measured by direct effects in grades K–5 and transfer effects to middle school; the design of curriculum models and assessment tools; and models of professional development.

The session covers (1) the case for the importance of elementary science, (2) perspectives and models of quality elementary science, (3) issues and challenges for achieving quality elementary science programs, and (4) how each project contributes systemically to the design, implementation, and evaluation of quality elementary science.