Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Editor's Corner

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Editor's Corner

Article excerpt

Authentic Science Practices

Any education that focuses predominantly on the facts of science without developing an understanding of how those facts were established... misrepresents science (NGSS Lead States 2013, Appendix F, p. 2).

This issue showcases activities in which students participate in authentic research. Learners examine authentic data in Arctic sediments from Lake El'gygytgyn in Russia and discover a climate signal in a body of water near their own school (Martin, pp. 24-28). They engage in interdisciplinary research on atmospheric processes by studying ice-nucleating properties of the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae (Pietsch et al., pp. 37-43). Students use an ingenious homemade carbon dioxide chamber to investigate C[O.sub.2] flux and global climate change (Taterka and Cory, pp. 29-35).

In each of these activities, students plan and carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, generate and evaluate sources of evidence, construct explanations, and design solutions. They gain valuable experience with Science and Engineering Practices--based on what professional scientists and engineers do--as they learn important science core ideas and crosscutting concepts.

A decade ago, America's Lab Report examined the role of laboratory experiences and field studies in high school science instruction. The authors found that "Most high school students participate in a limited range of laboratory activities that do not fully reflect the range of scientists' activities, limiting opportunities for them to gain understanding of the processes of science. ... And some students have no access to any type of laboratory experience. …

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