(This is one of a series of stories about science in Alabama appearing each Wednesday on AL.com)

Science teaching is changing across America, and Alabama is changing how it teaches science, too. But will the changes be enough or too much?

Dr. Bruce Alberts, a biochemist who headed the National Academy of Sciences and edited “Science” magazine, recently discussed the new way at Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Afterward, Dr. Neil Lamb, the institute’s vice president for educational outreach, talked about Alabama’s approach.

“We find ourselves at a place where there is a decreased emphasis on science (in schools and society),” Lamb said. “And there is often a perception that science is grounded in beliefs, hunches and personal viewpoints rather than in interpretation of facts. We are now facing the concept that if you don’t like the conclusions, you can dismiss the findings out of hand.”

┬áThat’s misunderstanding what science is and how science works, Lamb said. But the problem is also related to how science is taught. Here’s how Alberts described it.
A new model, where students do most of the talking in class, is included in the Next Generation Science Standards devised by teachers nationwide. Alabama’s new science standards follow the model. They were approved by the State Board of Education in 2015 and went into effect with the 2016 school year.
Alabama’s committees working on implementation in science, mathematics and reading will report their findings in May, Lamb said. Then Alabama parents, lawmakers and employers can begin their own conversation about the way science education is heading.
Click here to read the full story on Alabama.com (April 26, 2017)

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