SCIENCE CURRICULA IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS: PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

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  • 1 Department of Zoology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1501

According to recent surveys 80% of the primary, 90% of intermediate grade teachers, and 50% of all teachers base their instruction upon a single textbook; almost all questions arise from information in the textbook and most center on terminology; the common pattern of science instruction is assign, recite, test, and discuss the test, all based upon the textbook. The result of such instruction is that students demonstrate poor science achievement (both in terms of discipline specific knowledge and in terms of an ability to think and act in a scientific way) and poor attitudes towards science. In contrast, a number of excellent science K-12 programs have been developed in this country during the past 10-20 years and when used properly, achievement and attitude gains are considerable. Regrettably our system of district level control makes implementation of these superior programs difficult.

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