Science education has long been a weak spot at some elementary schools, but educators are hoping California’s new science standards — if implemented well — will entice teachers to expand and improve science lessons for the youngest students.
According to a 2016 study by WestEd, SRI International and the Lawrence Hall of Science, more than half of kindergarten and 1st-grade teachers in California spend less than an hour per week on science. Science time increases as children reach 5thgrade, when they take their first standardized science tests, but overall, 40 percent of K-5 teachers devote an hour or less per week to science, the study found.
The reason, teachers told the study researchers, is that schools face increased pressure to meet standards for math and English language arts, which leaves little time for science. Teachers also said they have limited money to pay for science supplies. Only 8 percent of teachers said lack of student interest was a reason.
The new science standards, called the Next Generation Science Standards, focus on hands-on classroom projects and broad scientific concepts, and begin in kindergarten. Some elementary teachers say that once they learned the new standards, science became easy and more rewarding to teach, especially to younger children.
Click here to read the full story in Ed Source (January 21, 2018)