Does your science kit invite hard thinking? Or does it push you and your students through prescribed directions, robbing children of the opportunity to do what is most essential in science: to learn from mistakes, control an experiment more rigorously, observe and record more carefully.
The goal of Wendy Saul and Jeanne Reardon's new book is not to dispense with kits, but rather to encourage teachers and their students to see kits as a beginning to real scientific inquiry. The essays in this volume reveal how elementary teachers have turned around their teaching to make themselves and their students producers as well as consumers of science knowledge. They demonstrate that when teachers inquire into their own teaching, they are better equipped to help children with the practice of inquiry- and it is an appreciation and enjoyment of inquiry that will lead these children back to science again and again.
Beyond the Science Kit is divided into three sections. The first provides a lens through which kit programs may be scrutinized. Are they "rigorous, relevant, and real?" Jeanne Reardon asks. In Part Two, "What's Important?," five educators share their "starting places" in reconfiguring their science programs. The essays describe the values that teachers return to in evaluating their own progress as well as the programs that reflect those values. In the final section, "Making It Work," teachers describe the "nitty-gritty" of designing a classroom that celebrates scientific inquiry across the curriculum.
About the Author
Jeanne Reardon is a classroom teacher who works with ESIP at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. A long-time classroom teacher, Jeanne is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. Wendy Saul, Professor of Education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, is Director of the National Science Foundation-supported Elementary Science Integration Projects (ESIP). She is the originator of Search It! Science, an online resource available from Heinemann. She also serves as editor of "Thinking Classroom: An International Journal of Reading, Writing and Critical Reflection."