Discussion: Keynote Part 1

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posted by: Yvonne Tryce on May 13, 2003 at 7:44PM
subject: content knowledge in science
I agree with you that teachers must not only know science (or math)
content but also must know how to use the content and teach it.
However, I am having difficulty seeing the teaching of math and science
as analogous. The development of math skills is the primary focus of
teaching math, while the teaching of science focuses on content - the
body of knowledge about our world and its inhabitants. However, the
two subjects overlap in the area of the process skills of comparing,
drawing conclusions, planning, measuring, hypothesizing, etc. These
processes are parts of the "so called" scientific method. It seems to
me that the areas where you feel teachers must improve their skills are
these process skills. I would propose that increased background in
doing science (not just reading science information) would be very
helpful to your math teachers.
In the BASEE project, a program focused on staff development in
science, we have provided science content instruction for teachers
using the inquiry approach that we encourage them to use within their
own classrooms. This involves developing some of their own questions
and going through a scientific process to answer them. The program
involves actually doing (hands-on science) and thinking through the
scientific concepts studied. Our project covers seven widely diverse
school district teaching a variety of hands-on science curricula. Yet
throughout the districts, the result has been the same - teachers
observed in the classroom situation who have participated significantly
in our program have raised the quality of their classroom instruction
remarkably. (See the BASEE poster.)
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