Science in Danger

A disturbing article on US competitiveness in Science from the Education section in the NY Times, November 4, 2011, by Christopher Drew.  Would love to hear some of your thoughts.

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4 Responses to Science in Danger

  1. jbackon says:

    Not sure the theme of the article is US competitiveness in Science. It seems more about higher education’s inability to adjust to the needs of the scientific professions, a story we have heard before in other professions such as education and business. The question is what to do about it. In some ways, it is not a problem for our schools, but do we have any responsibility for the potential careers of our students?

  2. Bill Sullivan says:

    I enjoyed this part of the article. Having taught global studies classes where a colleague and I modeled our curriculum on the NAIS 20/20 approach, I can’t say enough about how global problems create great, “engaging” curriculum. With the STEM perspective, I imagine that these young university students would connect with great problem solvers in their research (as I imagine they would look into the career trajectory of an engineer that solved a problem they studied in depth) and become inspired to master the “standard” curriculum and look forward to future school and real world work. Another thing about PBL learning is that students can actually master basics more because they have a better authentic context for learning.

    As the senior year–and particularly spring–of a typical independent school senior has changed because so many students are applying and getting into college early, wouldn’t we want engaging, authentic STEM projects that have presentations built into (not added on) the school calendar?

    WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE, in Massachusetts, one of the nation’s oldest technological schools, has taken the idea of projects to heart. While it still expects students to push their way through standard engineering and science classes, it ripped up its traditional curriculum in the 1970s to make room for extensive research, design and social-service projects by juniors and seniors, including many conducted on trips with professors overseas. In 2007, it added optional first-year projects — which a quarter of its freshmen do — focused on world problems like hunger or disease.

    “That kind of early engagement, and letting them see they can work on something that is interesting and important, is a big deal,” says Arthur C. Heinricher, the dean of undergraduate studies. “That hooks students.”

  3. raeannallenn says:

    I would appreciate people responding to these questions for Lower Schools – How many times a week and for how long do your gr 1-5 students have science class? Is it taught by a specialist? How did you decide to have it that designated number of days/week? Is there any research that illustrates how many times a child has science by a specialist according to their grade?

  4. hhlsscience says:

    Hamden Hall offers science by a specialist (me: Bio degree, teaching degree, 25 yrs K-12 experience) starting in K (1 time/wk), 1 and 2 (2 X/wk), 3,4,5,6 (3X/wk). The topics spiral and reflect the CT and national standards. Skills and experiential based at the core, fun, keeping in mind the kind of student we hope for at the upper levels. The schedule does not really allow for more science than we get, and we are happy to include it as an important “special”.

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