Science Becomes Elementary Fun A Low-Budget Learning Center in Needham, Mass., Is a Leader in Putting a Friendly Face on Science Education

By Laurie Ann Peach, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 6, 1992 | Go to article overview

Science Becomes Elementary Fun A Low-Budget Learning Center in Needham, Mass., Is a Leader in Putting a Friendly Face on Science Education


Laurie Ann Peach, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


`SMUDGY the Polluter, that's my name. People call me that, 'cause pullutin's my game."

Kindergartners through fifth-graders start snapping their fingers.

"I dirty up the earth and I don't care, but my favorite thing to do is to dirty up the air!"

So raps Cindy Wankowicz, animal curator of the Needham Science Center, as she helps teach a science lesson on the atmosphere at the Elliot Elementary School in Needham, Mass. This Air Rap is part of a 45-minute program the Science Center is presenting throughout the school district.

The Science Center is the chemistry, physics, biology, and ecology hub for all of Needham's elementary schools. Director Larry White and assistant Dan DeWolf use an entertaining approach for teaching students as well as educators to love science.

"We are concerned about process, not concept teaching," Mr. White says. "We want to teach {children} how to discover and to want to discover.... We don't want to just open up their heads and pour in scientific names."

The discovery method is phenomenal, says Rosemarie Greene, a fourth-grade teacher at Elliot, "The children get so excited. They will go out on their own and find things in newspapers to bring in to class, or build their own models."

This approach to elementary science is not new. Many individuals and schools in the United States have made valiant efforts to make the subject lively.

The Needham center, which has been open since 1964, served as an exemplary model for a bus load of science teachers, administrators, and counselors from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) national conference held in Boston last week.

Today "hands on, hearts in, heads up, total involvement" teaching is getting more of a national focus, says Lynn Glass, president of the NSTA and professor of science education at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. More emphasis is also being placed on better teaching in elementary schools.

Elementary science was neglected for a long time, Dr. Glass says. Grade-school teachers usually are prepared in language arts, and many avoid science, he says.

In Ms. Greene's case, that was especially true. "I was a new teacher in Needham. I went to them {the Science Center} and said, 'Look, I don't feel comfortable teaching science, I don't like science. It was my worst subject in school,' " she says. So the center advised her on innovative teaching methods, gave her equipment and kits for the classroom, and encouraged her to ask questions. "And now I love science and my kids love it too," she says.

"This is the perfect age {kindergarten, first and second} because they are so curious," says Elizabeth Fitzgerald, director of the Magic House at St. Louis Children's Museum in St. Louis. With funding from the Monsanto Company, the Magic House sponsors "kitchen chemistry," hands-on science-teaching workshops for elementary school teachers.

"Research shows that if you wait till third or fourth grade, the children have already closed their mind to the subject. They hear from brothers or older kids on the bus or playground that science is boring or hard," she continues. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Science Becomes Elementary Fun A Low-Budget Learning Center in Needham, Mass., Is a Leader in Putting a Friendly Face on Science Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.