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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

The National Science Teachers Convention 2012

The National Science Teachers Convention 2012

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The National Science Teachers Convention March 28-31. The National Science Teachers Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana is a remarkable and critically important resource for science teachers. It presents itself at a critically important juncture in our nation’s history. The importance of this event is reflected in the stature by which science education is now considered a benchmark for our country’s future economic competitiveness and political influence in the world. Indianapolis, a city at the crossroads of our country, is a symbol of the cross disciplinary challenges we now face in STEM educational initiatives. Investment in science education will help secure our nation’s dominance in the world as a land of technological innovation and with the freedoms to maximize economic and political opportunities that present themselves. Jeff Goldstein an astrophysicist and director of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) said in a keynote speech on Thursday, “learning is a biological imperative for humans…we are wired for evidence-based learning. Science is organized curiosity. We are born curious and we are driven by evidence-based learning. Let science education be science and include predicative inferences. We immerse ourselves in the modeling of things we do every day when we communicate ideas and thoughts to other people. Science education has to be about modeling science.” Dr. Goldstein’s description of science education explains this new paradigm that is presented in both the common core standards and within the Framework for science education. His believes that the true power of education rests with those people who are able to think critically and solve problems, while effectively utilizing the limitless wealth of knowledge on the Internet. It is this commitment to bring these opportunities to learn to all students as the most important educational imperative we now face as a society. A few of the most pressing science educational initiatives that should be considered today in our schools are the following: Introduction of data-rich Geographic Information System (GIS) into the science classroom, investigations into the science of agronomy (vermicomposting, hydroponics and soil conservation), aquaponics as a means to research living integrated systems, and customizing Google Documents and employing it as a collaborative digital tool for all students conducting scientific investigations. There are a host of other science projects and programs that can also help support this new paradigm in science education. Some of these include robotics in the science classroom, probe ware data collection and analysis, involvement in national programs on ground ozone pollution, carbon dioxide and carbon-soot contamination monitoring, NASA inspire programs available for students, establishing a chapter of Future Farmers of America (FFA) within the suburban school environment and support the Girl Scouts Imagine Science Program at the middle schools and in the high schools.

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