Academic journal article Science and Children

The "Fundamental Tools" of Science

Academic journal article Science and Children

The "Fundamental Tools" of Science

Article excerpt

Without mathematics, there's nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.

--Shakuntala Devi

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In the past, most science standards neglected to include math as an important component of science. This strong connection had been understated even though all science teachers know that mathematics is essential to gather and interpret data. AAAS Project 2016 and the National Science Education Standards changed that--somewhat. But with the Framework for K-12 Science Education resulting in major STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiatives, the importance of this connection is clear-cut.

The Framework identifies Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking as one of the basic practices of science and engineering: "In science, mathematics and computation are fundamental tools for representing physical variables and their relationships" (NRC 2012, p. 51). "The major goal of engineering is to solve problems that arise from a specific human need or desire. To do this, engineers rely on their knowledge of science and mathematics as well as their understanding of the engineering design process" (NRC 2012, p. 27).

We all know that physics and engineering depend on mathematics. Understanding and recognizing change, motion, force, and properties depend on calculations and mathematical comparisons. …

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