Discovery Guides Areas


Scientific Literacy
(Released September 2007)

  by Carolyn Scearce  


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  1. Desert Survivors: the design and implementation of a television program to enhance local scientific literacy

    Jenifer C. Utz, Candice M. Rausch, Laurie Fruth, Megan E. Thomas and Frank van Breukelen.

    Advances in Physiology Education, Vol. 31, No. 1, Mar 2007, pp. 1-4.

    Outreach efforts by faculty members are oftentimes limited in scope due to hectic schedules. We developed a program to enhance science literacy in elementary school children that allows experts to reach a tremendous audience while minimizing their time commitment. The foundation of the program is a television series entitled "Desert Survivors." The episodes air on local cable access television and are available to teachers on DVD. Each episode features a guest expert who spotlights a particular organism and how that organism overcomes the myriad of hardships inherent to desert survival. Local classrooms are visited to solicit questions from students regarding the organism of interest. These videotaped questions are integrated into Desert Survivors television production and provide the guest expert with the basis to discuss the ecology, physiology, and evolutionary biology of the organism. The program is bolstered through the use of an interactive website. Assessment strategies are in place to ensure program efficacy. Herein, we describe the development of the program as a model for innovative outreach opportunities.

  2. Enhancing Ocean Literacy and Expertise of Diverse Populations via Graduate School Fellowship Opportunities

    M. Mayo, W. Ithier-Guzman, A. J. Pyrtle, et al.

    EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Vol. 88, No. 25 (2007 Joint Assembly; Suppl.)

    In 2004, the University of South Florida (USF) was granted by the National Science Foundation a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) site award (HRD# 0217675). As part of the Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (FGLSAMP), USF is one of thirteen institutions in an alliance that is dedicated to significantly increasing the number of underrepresented minority students who obtain undergraduate and graduate STEM degrees. The BD program at USF incorporates the goals of FGLSAMP and facilitates the recruitment of underrepresented minorities pursuing careers in the STEM fields at the graduate level. The thematic focus of the FGLSAMP USF BD program is focused on the development and application of biogeochemical sensors for marine, aquatic, environmental, remote sensing and biomedical applications. After recruitment, BD graduate fellowship recipients are provided with NSF-funded financial support for two years, and opportunities to participate in professional development workshops, seminars and short courses, as well as additional financial support to pursue and complete their doctoral studies (beyond the initial two years of NSF BD funding), in a variety of forms, including, but not limited to, Alfred P. Sloan Minority Scholarships, Florida Education Fund's McKnight Doctoral Fellowships, USF College of Graduate Studies Fellowships, USF CMS endowed fellowships, USF CMS research assistantships, and USF CMS teaching assistantships. Collectively, 3 LSAMP BD grants have been awarded at USF to support 56 underrepresented minority fellowship recipients, of which 14 are currently graduate students at the USF College of Marine Science (CMS). Since the arrival of the BD Fellowship program, the graduate community has diversified, showing an increase of over 40% in underrepresented minorities at CMS. The BD program has enhanced the research and learning environment for all CMS students, as well as fostered a nurturing community of underrepresented minority CMS graduate students committed to obtaining their doctoral degrees. As of spring 2007, a total of 4 BD fellowship recipients have obtained marine science master's degrees and are currently pursuing their doctoral degrees in the CMS. In addition, in less than two years, a BD endowment fund of more than $900,000 was established. This fund will provide financial support for at least two minority CMS graduate students in perpetuity! Lastly, in response to an identified need for increased ocean literacy among underrepresented groups, several BD fellowship recipients have engaged in activities designed to 'give back' via informal and formal education and outreach opportunities within their native communities.

  3. What good is a scientist in the classroom? Participant outcomes and program design features for a short-duration science outreach intervention in K-12 classrooms

    Sandra Laursen, Carrie Liston, Heather Thiry and Julie Graf.

    CBE life sciences education, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 2007, pp. 49-64.

    Many short-duration science outreach interventions have important societal goals of raising science literacy and increasing the size and diversity of the science workforce. Yet, these long-term outcomes are inherently challenging to evaluate. We present findings from a qualitative research study of an inquiry-based, life science outreach program to K-12 classrooms that is typical in design and excellent in execution. By considering this program as a best case of a common outreach model, the "scientist in the classroom," the study examines what benefits may be realized for each participant group and how they are achieved. We find that K-12 students are engaged in authentic, hands-on activities that generate interest in science and new views of science and scientists. Teachers learn new science content and new ways to teach it, and value collegial support of their professional work. Graduate student scientists, who are the program presenters, gain teaching and other skills, greater understanding of education and diversity issues, confidence and intrinsic satisfaction, and career benefits. A few negative outcomes also are described. Program elements that lead to these benefits are identified both from the research findings and from insights of the program developer on program design and implementation choices.

  4. Climate Literacy Through Student-Teacher-Scientist Research Partnerships

    D. Brooks, B. Lefer, A. Linsley and K. Duckenfield.

    EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Vol. 87, No. 52, 2006, Suppl. 26 Dec.

    Expanding on the GLOBE Program's Atmosphere and Aerosol investigations, high school students can conduct Earth System scientific research that promotes scientific literacy in both content and the science process. Through the use of Student-Teacher-Scientist partnerships, Earth system scientific investigations can be conducted that serve the needs of the classroom as well as participating scientific investigators. During the proof- of-concept phase of this partnership model, teachers and their students developed science plans, through consultation with scientists, and began collecting atmospheric and aerosol data in support of the Gulf of Mexico Atmospheric Composition and Climate Study (GoMACCS) campaign in Houston Texas. This effort uses some pre-existing GLOBE materials, but draws on a variety of other resources to tailor the teacher development activities and intended student participation in a way that addresses local and regional problems. Students and teachers have learned about best practices in scientific inquiry and they also helped to expand the pipeline of potential future scientists and researchers for industry, academia, and government. This work began with a Student-Teacher-Scientist partnership started in 2002 during a GLOBE Aerosol Protocol Cross-Ground Validation of AERONET with MODIS Satellite Aerosol Measurements. Several other GLOBE schools, both national and international, have contributed to this research. The current project support of the intensive GoMACCS air quality and atmospheric dynamics field campaign during September and October of 2006. This model will be evaluated for wider use in other project-focused partnerships led by NOAA's Climate Program Office.

  5. A Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science

    L. Allison, J. Hehn, J. Kass, et al.

    EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Vol. 87, No. 52; Suppl., 2006, 26 Dec.

    For many of the problems facing contemporary societies, such as potential impacts of climate change, coastal degradation, reductions of fisheries stocks, volcanic and earthquake hazards in densely populated areas, quality and availability of water, and exploitation of hydrocarbon resources and development of alternative energy sources, formulation of wise public policy depends on evaluation of the state of geoscientific research in the relevant areas. In a democratic society, public discourse about and input to policy decisions on key issues affecting the public welfare requires a public that understands the scientific research process, values the contribution of science to society, and has a working knowledge of what science can and cannot yet say about specific issues. Arguably, that ideal falls short in contemporary American society. Disturbing trends in science education, low public scientific literacy, and increasing alarms about U.S. competitiveness have all been prominent national news topics in recent years. (1) A recent National Science Board report indicated that two-thirds of Americans do not understand what science is, how it is conducted, and what one can expect from it. (2) A recent Gallup poll reports widespread and increasingly prevalent belief in pseudoscience. (3) There is a growing public complacency about and disengagement from science at the very moment when the impact of science on public life is greater than ever. (4) The Business Roundtable of major U.S. companies notes that the scientific and technical building blocks of our economic leadership are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength. In response, a Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science i? COPUS i? has been initiated. Essential to COPUS is the premise that public understanding of science and the scientific process and an awareness of the impacts of scientific advancements on our quality of life are necessary to increase student interest in science as a career and for the Nation to continue support of the scientific enterprise. The public sector is a diverse entity that cannot be characterized by a single set of descriptors. To re-engage the public in science will take a concerted, collaborative, and multi-faceted set of programs and strategies taking place at local, regional, and national levels. COPUS will (1) develop a network among all interested stakeholders, including the scientific, education, policy, media and business communities and the general public; (2) create forums for sharing ideas, best practices, and resources; (3) provide documents and materials aimed at multiple audiences that effectively frame the message about the nature of the science process and its value to society; and (4) sponsor, encourage, and broker events that showcase science and convey the coalition's common messages. The overarching goal of this initiative is to empower Americans with a set of understandings that will allow them to appreciate the pragmatic outcomes of science, distinguish science from non-science, and participate in social discourse that depends upon insight into the nature of science.

  6. Elementary education majors experience hands-on learning in introductory biology

    Barbara E. Goodman, Elizabeth M. Freeburg, Katherine Rasmussen and Di Meng.

    Advances in Physiology Education, Vol. 30, No. 4, Dec 2006, pp. 195-203.

    Faculty members from the University of South Dakota attended the Curriculum Reform Institute offered by the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, WI, during the summer of 2002 to design a course sequence for elementary education majors that better meets their needs for both content and pedagogy based on the science education standards. The special section of introductory biology that resulted from this workshop is designed to use laboratories and activities that either help students learn major concepts in the life sciences or model how to teach these concepts to their future K-8 students. This study describes how the active, hands-on learning opportunity for preservice teachers with its emphasis on both content and performance-based assessment was implemented in an introductory biology course for elementary education majors during the spring of 2004. During the initial offering of this course, student perceptions about what helped them to learn in the special section was compared with their nonscience major peers in the large lecture-intensive class that they would have taken. Each group of students completed early and late web-based surveys to assess their perceptions about learning during the courses. After the completion of the course, students in the special section appreciated how the relevance of science and conducting their own scientific experimentation helped them learn, enjoyed working and studying in small groups, valued diverse class time with very little lecture, were more confident in their abilities in science, and were more interested in discussing science with others. This course format is recommended for science classes for preservice teachers.

  7. Exploration and Discovery: Essential Elements in Earth and Space Science Literacy

    P. Keener-Chavis and P. G. Coble.

    Marine Technology Society Journal, Vol. 39, No. 4, 2005 - 2006, pp. 12-14.

    The wonders of the deep ocean and the mysteries of the universe. Inner Space and Outer Space. Both have historically and inextricably been linked with "exploration" and "discovery" since the beginning of humankind. For ages, people have gazed at celestial objects seemingly floating in the night sky, and as early as 2,000 B.C., the Egyptians were exploring the seas. Astronomers and sailors - explorers driven by the human spirit of discovery and a fundamental "need to know." What drives this quest for knowledge about the natural world, this fundamental "need to know" and understand what makes the planets move and the ocean change color? Can we capture and direct this "fundamental need to know" in novel ways to enhance ocean science literacy?

  8. Inquiry with Seeds To Meet the Science Education Standards

    P. D. Krantz and L. H. Barrow.

    American Biology Teacher, Vol. 68, No. 2, Feb 2006, pp. 92-97.

  9. Integrating Tours of Large Scale Facility With 6th -12th Science Curriculum, the Ocean Sciences Link

    A. Lyman-Holt, M. Crews, E. Spencer, L. Enochs and W. Rochefort.

    2000 Florida Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20009 USA, [URL:]; Transactions, American Geophysical Union: American Geophysical Union, 2006, [np]. suppl

    The O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory (HWRL) is a center for coastal research, education, service and outreach in the areas coastal engineering, nearshore processes, and tsunami and coastal hazards. It is one of the 15 facilities funded under the George E. Brown National Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) consortium through 2014 of the National Science Foundation. As a NSF and NEES site, the HWRL is mandated to provide a general education and outreach (EOT) program. Prior to the NEES program, the HWRL's EOT program consisted of loosely organized K-12 tours and public open houses. Over the past 3 years the tour and open house program has been formalized to include a tour guide training and tour assessment. This has proven successful in providing educationally meaningful tours. The current HWRL EOT K-12 goal is to integrate HWRL tours into classroom curriculum. The goal is to reinforce concepts students are familiar with during a HWRL tour. To meet this goal, hands-on project based curriculum, for grades 6-12, addressing wave physics, erosion, tsunamis and engineering challenges was developed. The curriculum is divided into modules to ease integration into existing classroom content. The congruency between this curriculum and the Oregon and National Science Education Standards will be presented, along with the early development methods. Researchers used the curriculum mapping method to assess the congruency. This assessment, along with the two part field testing of science and engineering methods, will provide guidance in refining and developing the second draft of the curriculum. This curriculum and assessment could be modeled at other large experimental facilities in science and engineering.

  10. K-12 Outreach and Science Literacy through Green Chemistry

    Amy S. Cannon and John C. Warner.

    2006 Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS 06), San Francisco, California (USA) ,10-14 Sep 2006

  11. Neuroscience workshops for fifth-grade school children by undergraduate students: a university-school partnership

    Judith G. Foy, Marissa Feldman, Edward Lin, Margaret Mahoney and Chelsea Sjoblom.

    CBE life sciences education, Vol. 5, No. 2, Summer 2006, pp. 128-136.

    The National Science Education Standards recommend that science be taught using inquiry-based approaches. Inspired by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, we examined whether undergraduate students could learn how to conduct field research by teaching elementary school children basic neuroscience concepts in interactive workshops. In an inquiry-based learning experience of their own, undergraduate psychology students working under the close supervision of their instructor designed and provided free, interactive, hour-long workshops focusing on brain structure and function, brain damage and disorders, perception and illusions, and drugs and hormones to fifth-graders from diverse backgrounds, and we assessed the effectiveness of the workshops using a pretest-post-test design. The results suggest that the workshops enhanced the children's knowledge of neuroscience concepts as measured using pre- and post-open-ended assessments. The undergraduates also found their learning experience engaging and productive. The article includes detailed descriptions of the workshop activities, procedures, the course in which the undergraduates implemented the workshops, and guidance for future university-school collaborations aimed at enhancing science literacy.

  12. Public knowledge and public trust

    Sarah Cunningham-Burley.

    Community genetics, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2006, pp. 204-210.

    As health care applications derived from human genetics research are likely to move increasingly from 'clinic to community', there is growing interest not just in how patients understand and take up health-related genetic information but also in the views of the wider population, as well as a range of professional groups. In this paper, issues relating public knowledge and public trust are raised and discussed in an attempt to move forward debates about public involvement in genomic research and the role of sociologists within interdisciplinary teams. As the field of public understanding of science has developed, we have seen a shift from a focus on the lack of scientific literacy as problem to a recognition of the range of different knowledges that people have and use as they confront science and technology in their everyday lives. As a mood for dialogue pervades many institutions in their relations with 'publics', attention must now be paid to the way in which knowledge and expertise is expressed, heard and acted upon in dialogic encounters. There is increasing concern about public trust in science and calls to increase public confidence, particularly through more open engagement with a range of publics. However, lack of trust or loss of confidence may be constructed as problems rather than reflecting empirical reality, where more complex relationships and attitudes prevail. Lack of trust is often privatized, deeply rooted in lived experience and routinely managed. Trust relations are generally characterized by ambivalence, uncertainty and risk, and are always provisional. Drawing on selected literature and empirical research to review and illustrate this field, this paper argues that scepticism or ambivalence on the part of publics are not necessarily problems to be overcome in the interest of scientific progress, but rather should be mobilized to enhance open and public debates about the nature and direction of genomics research, medicine, and the related social and ethical issues. Just as there can be no resolute expression of public knowledge or public opinion, it is unlikely that there is a resolute expression of public trust in genomics. However, ambivalence and scepticism can be harnessed as powerful resource for change, whether through the mobilization of public knowledges or the development of greater reflexivity within scientific institutions. This demands a sharing of power and greater public involvement in the early stages of policy formation and scientific and medical agenda setting. (Copyright 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.)

  13. A rising tide floats all boats: increasing scientific literacy through collaboration between scientists and K-12 educators

    B. Helmuth and K. R. Schneider.

    EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Vol. 87, No. 52; Suppl., 2006, Suppl. 26 Dec.

    Interactions between research scientists and K-12 educator are all too often viewed as a one-way transfer of information, from researcher to teacher. We describe two models that increase the scientific literacy of K-12 teachers and students, and also work to enhance the communication skills of graduate and undergraduate students. In the first model ('The Rising Tide' as well as similar programs funded by NSF RET and REU), teachers are paired with faculty, undergraduate and graduate students during the summer and fall. Each team conduct research projects, writes lesson plans based on current scientific research and on national standards, and tests the efficacy of lessons in a classroom environment. Teachers acquire content knowledge while enhancing skills in reasoning, communication, and creativity as they develop a broader understanding of their fields of study. Scientists and students gain help with scientific research, and develop effective communication skills that help to bridge the gap between academia and a diversity of nonscientific audiences. The second model sends scientists into the classrooms to work with teachers and students through programs such as TIPS and NSF GK-12. The scientists serve as co-teachers and mentors conducting individual lessons, creating and updating curriculum, and developing new pedagogies for incorporating stronger science inquiry. Scientists gain a greater appreciation for K-12 education while enhancing their own teaching and collaboration skills. We will describe ways to develop these types of programs, the strengths and weaknesses of both models, roles of all the participants, as well as reflections from participant surveys and personal experiences. Crucially, we view these not as 'trainee teaching the trainer' models, but as true collaborations between professionals.

  14. Science as Story Communicating the Nature of Science Through Historical Perspectives on Science

    Will Wieder.

    The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 68, No. 4, Apr 2006, pp. 200-205.

  15. Scientific Literacy through Student-Teacher-Scientist Research Partnerships

    Frank Niepold.

    2006 Joint Assembly of the American Geophysical Union, Geochemical Society, The Microbeam Analysis Society, Mineralogical Society of America and Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Baltimore, Maryland (USA) ,23-26 May 2006

  16. Scientists gone wild: Creative ways to approaching science education

    EM Fisher, S. Saleem, EC Tyner, et al.

    2000 Florida Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20009 USA, [URL:]; Transactions, American Geophysical Union: American Geophysical Union, 2006, [np]. suppl

    The GK-12 OCEANS fellowship program is an exciting collaboration between the National Science Foundation (NSF), University of South Florida's College of Marine Science graduate students, and the Pinellas County School District teachers. As graduate fellows, we are sharing our expertise and skills in science and education to accomplish four major goals for the 2005 - 2006 academic year including: (1) Development of an integrated teaching framework using inquiry-based activities incorporating the four disciplines of oceanography as well as incorporating current research and technology, math, reading and writing skills; (2) Field testing and distribution of teaching framework and inquiry-based activities in multiple elementary classrooms as well as with K-12 teachers through Professional Development Institutes (3) Design and development of long-term monitoring research projects for elementary school students at a waterfront marine education center; and, (4) Assessing the impact of our teaching model on ocean literacy of teachers and students. This framework follows the life of plankton and other animals from the open ocean, to the extremes, and into the deep. Using an integrated, inquiry-based instruction encourages teachers and students to approach science content in a way that parallels how scientists approach their research. Join us in exploring how `ocean discovery' learning opportunities have enriched K-12 classrooms. Be prepared to have fun engaging in hands-on, inquiry activities during this presentation.

  17. Teacher Field Research Experiences: Building and Maintaining the Passion for K-12 Science Education

    K. Dunton and S. Schonberg.

    EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Vol. 87, No. 52; Suppl., 2006, Suppl. 26 Dec.

    Academic scientists and researchers are increasingly encouraged to develop connections with K-12 educators to promote scientific literacy and bring excitement into the classroom. Such partnerships carry long-term benefits to both teachers and researchers. Teachers gain the tools, confidence, and knowledge to develop research activities with their students that promote scientific inquiry, and researchers benefit from outreach activities that improve communication skills for sharing scientific knowledge with the public. Our K-12 programs have been field based under a theme of Classrooms Without Walls, to take advantage of our local marine environment and a long-term research program on the Alaskan Arctic coast. Our professional development programs for teachers have included the creation of an annual summer graduate level course (Application of Field Research Experiences for K-12 Science and Math Educators) as an introduction to scientific methodology, observation, and inquiry based learning. We provide graduate students as resources in classrooms and for field trip experiences and provide supplies and instrumentation to teachers for K-12 field projects. Finally, teachers have an opportunity to join our researchers to remote sites under various competitive programs that receive federal support (e.g. GK- 12, ARMADA). We provide examples of our activities, which are based on recent needs assessment surveys of science teachers; these included development of content knowledge and providing students with opportunities to connect concepts with experiences. Our goal is to provide field experiences to teachers and students that enable them to relate science concepts to the real world.

  18. Teaching About Designer Babies & Genetically Modified Foods: Encouraging the Teaching of Biotechnology in Secondary Schools

    Glenda Leslie and Renato Schibeci.

    The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 68, No. 7, e98-e103, Sep 2006, pp. e98-e103.

  19. Turning Techno-Savvy into Info-Savvy: Authentically Integrating Information Literacy into the Science Curriculum

    Mark A. Nanny, Cecelia Brown and Teri J. Murphy.

    2006 Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS 06), San Francisco, California (USA) ,10-14 Sep 2006

  20. Urban Teens Exploring Museums: Science Experiences Beyond the Classroom

    James Kisiel.

    The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 68, No. 7, 396-401, Sep 2006, pp. 396-401.

  21. Using Mars and the Mer Mission to Teach Science: A Curriculum Designed for Teachers and Their Students

    J. C. Aubele, J. Stanley, A. Grochowski, K. Jones and J. Aragon.

    EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Vol. 87, No. 52; Suppl., 2006, Suppl. 26 Dec.

    Learning opportunities can be exceptionally successful when linked to national, newsworthy events. Planetary missions are particularly exciting in engaging teachers, and their students, because they combine the human i?storiesi? of scientists and engineers with cutting-edge technology and new science. Planetary suface missions, such as the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, return beautiful and human-scale images that can virtually transport the viewer to another world. The MER mission allows children and adults to participate in the exploration of one of our nearest neighbors in space. New discoveries in the natural history of Mars have been used as the basis of a new integrated curriculum created by Museum and class-room educators designed to serve informal (family learning) and formal (classroom) audiences. The curriculum uses Mars and the MER mission as a i?hooki? to teach a wide range of topics that relate to all of the sciences, mathematics, social studies (history and exploration), science and society, career readiness, language and literacy, and visual arts. The curriculum, entitled i?Making Tracks on Mars: Teacher Resource and Activity Guide,i? includes the following key features that have contributed to its success and usefulness: (1) basic information about Mars, Mars missions, and the MER mission providing teachers with the knowledge they may lack; (2) activities that follow a standardized format and include necessary information, pre-lesson preparation and post-lesson closure and extensions, and all information and/or images needed; (3) activities that cross the curriculum and can be used to address many different standards; (4) relevant state and national standards listed for each activity; (5) annotated MER image file and PowerPoint presentation for easy classroom use; (6) lists of additional Mars-related resources; (7) emphasis on local connections to the mission to enable teachers and students to feel personally connected; (8) elementary through high school classroom teachers as co-authors and co-developers of the curriculum; (9) evaluation and assessement by i?pilot programi? teachers; and (10) collaboration and partnership with other local and regional science education providers, such as SCORE, which provided partial funding and dissemination support, and NM MESA, a statewide organization of teachers.

  22. Making the Nature of Science RELEVANT: Effectiveness of an Activity That Stresses Critical Thinking Skills

    Michael L. Rutledge.

    The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 67, No. 6, Aug 2005, pp. 329-333.

  23. Science teaching efficacy beliefs of pre-service elementary teachers; Geological Society of America, 2005 annual meeting

    Barbara C. Cooper.

    Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America, Vol. 37, No. 7, Oct 2005, pp. 118-119.

    Many of the National Science Education Standards for K- 6 classes are on Earth/Space Science topics. There is a push for elementary education students to be better prepared to teach science in an elementary classroom, prompting elementary education majors to enroll in introductory earth science classes. At Purdue University in addition to courses in chemistry, biology, and physics, two earth science classes (for a total of 5 credit hours) are required for all elementary education majors. For the past two years the elementary education majors finishing their final science class have been administered an exit survey including the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (STEBI-B test). STEBI evaluates two things: their belief about how well they will teach science (their efficacy) and their belief about how well their students will learn science (the outcome of their teaching). Results from STEBI-B show that pre-service elementary teachers have a negative opinion about their ability to teach science effectively and a negative opinion about their future students' abilities to learn science even at the end of their college course work. In fact, a comparison with sophomores who took the STEBI early in their college program indicated that the students' efficacy belief actually went down (significantly) during their tenure in college. These STEBI results are disturbing and indicate that pre-service teachers attitudes about science are an issue that needs to be addressed if our next generation are going to have a chance to learn and enjoy science.

  24. Closing the gap between sustainability science and sustainability policy; Geological Society of America, 2004 annual meeting

    Craig M. Schiffries.

    Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America, Vol. 36, No. 5, Nov 2004, pp. 274-275.

    The urgent need to close the gap between sustainability science and policy has emerged as a recurring theme at a series of national and international conferences on sustainable development. This paper addresses the role of sustainability science in achieving domestic and international policy goals pertaining to water sustainability. It explores strategies for closing the gap between science and policy by improving the scientific literacy of policymakers and improving the policy literacy of scientists. The Ministerial Declaration issued at the conclusion of the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto states: "Water is a driving force for sustainable development including environmental integrity, and the eradication of poverty and hunger, indispensable for human health and welfare." The Ministerial Declaration embraces the target established in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to halve the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015 and the target established in the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to halve the proportion of people without access to basic and adequate sanitation by 2015. This paper reviews scientific and technical provisions in these documents and provides recommendations for moving toward the policy goals.

  25. Encouraging scientific literacy through extended natural history field trips that focus on integrated science; Geological Society of America, 2004 annual meeting

    Robert L. Eves, James E. Bowns, Ronald M. Martin, Larry E. Davis, D. Gordon Brown and William J. Lamberts.

    Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America, Vol. 36, No. 5, Nov 2004, pp. 233.

    The National Science Foundation suggests that educators can foster scientific literacy among undergraduates by integrating aspects of geology, meteorology, oceanography, biology, chemistry, and environmental science. Due to time restrictions, weekend field trips tend to be narrowly focused, making it difficult to take such a multi-disciplinary approach. However, extended field trips can be designed to immerse students in integrated, multi-disciplinary science. Our non-geoscience colleagues from other science disciplines are very interested in collaborating with geology faculty in designing and leading integrated field experiences. We have found that extended natural history field trips provide an excellent opportunity to use a systems approach for integrative science learning. These collaborative, extended field experiences effectively capitalize upon the natural diversity of our physical world, instructional expertise of the instructors, and innate interest of our students. We have successfully employed this approach in three diverse areas: the Natural History of (1) the Pacific Northwest (2) the Colorado Plateau and (3) Tropical Carbonate Systems. These extended field trips range from 10 days to 4 weeks in length. Instructors with expertise in geology, biology, archeology, botany, range management, and environmental science have participated. As an example of one such trip, geology, biology, and environmental science students from our two institutions studied, and are presently involved in a long-term analysis of, a lagoon on San Salvador, Bahamas. The lagoon is a classic example of a small "carbonate factory", a nursery for barracuda, and a natural system beginning to experience potentially degrading impact from nearby human development. Our interdisciplinary students are working together to monitor the abundance and distribution of calcareous algae, the principal carbonate producers; turtle and manatee grass distribution; the principle sediment baffling and trapping agents in the lagoon; and, the water chemistry near the distal end of the lagoon, where new housing developments are being planned.

  26. Negotiating Gene Therapy Controversies

    T. D. Sadler and D. L. Zeidler.

    American Biology Teacher, Vol. 66, No. 6, Aug 2004, pp. 428-433.

  27. Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe

    L. M. LEDERMAN and C. T. HILL.

    Prometheus Books, 2004, pp. 365.

    Nobel Laureate in high-energy physics Leon M. Lederman and Christopher T Hill, a theoretical physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), are on a mission--the establishmment of scientific literacy in theoretical physics. They both hope high school and college students entering the study of physics will be able to begin their intellectual journey by seeing the fundamental role of symmetry in the basic laws of physics. Currently, serious students of physics start off too far along on the historical timeline of scientific research. Only after years of undergraduate and graduate work in the field do students begin to retrace the steps of the scientific process. Then, only if they choose to inquire into a very abstract field of study called theoretical physics, will they discover the underlying principle of all the known forces in nature--symmetry. Lederman and Hill give tribute to an unsung heroine in women's history, Emmy Noether, who Albert Einstein called a "significant creative mathematical genius," and who single-handedly changed the way mathematicians think about their subject. Battling sexism throughout her academic career and chased out of Germany by the Nazis in the 1930s for being Jewish, Noether taught her students to think in more general, simpler terms, rather than in complex calculations. Just as children experience symmetry in seashells, flower petals, snowflakes, or birdsong, Noether believed symmetry is ubiquitous throughout the universe because the fundamental laws of physics are based on it. Lederman and Hill's text literally sings about Noether's theorem calling it "the guiding light to unraveling nature's mysteriesand exploring the most miniscule distances of space and shortest instants of time." The authors define symmetry as an invariance of an object or system to a transformation. The invariance is the constancy of the physical system (be it a particle, atom, person, planet, or a whole universe). Transformation is the action applied to the system that takes it from one state to another equal state. They provide an example using music--a drummer plays a regular drumbeat; the invariance is the equality of the interval between beats; the transformation is the passage of time. The musician can play a series of 16th notes for 15 minutes, but when he stops the system (the drumbeats) remains the same. After explaining the constancy concept and using examples from the creative arts, Lederman and Hill tackle time and energy conservation, inertia, quantum mechanics, the hidden symmetry of light and, most fervently, the history of scientific discovery in physics. They celebrate the philosopher Aristarchus in 310 BCE who theorized that the sun was the center of the solar system and then extended that supposition to the other planets orbiting the sun, the moon orbiting Earth. They write, "But what followed becameantiscientific mumbo-jumbo, leading to dogma" and the rise of the Aristotelian version of an Earth-centered universe. This theocratic version would remain in place until 2,000 years later when Copernicus published De Revolutionibus, with a disclaimer at the end to avoid heresy charges. The authors tweak the current antiscientific climate in the U.S. hoping that those times are over, but wondering, "We're not certain that they are." Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe is a book geared to physics students, but can be understood by readers with a basic idea of the laws of nature. The authors employ creative ways to get beyond any dry, eyes-glazing-over text by using funny cartoons, such as one depicting the famous three-dumbbell experiment using a wild-haired professor to illustrate how angular momentum is conserved, causing angular velocity to increase, or the Gedankenlab (fashioned from the German word for "thought experiment") the authors theoretically sent out into the universe to measure the fundamental constants. This fabulous book conveys the elegance of the universe and the unifying fundamentals of any kind of intellectual search, be it in the arts or in science. Hopefully, this publication will encourage science teachers to include theoretical physics in the classroom so future scientists will be able to understand how the simplicity of symmetry connects black holes to Beethoven and quarks to honeycombs. ISBN: 1-59102-242-8

  28. Advocating aquaculture education for scientific literacy

    C. J. Eick and L. Vining.

    Agricultural Education Magazine, Vol. 76, No. 3, Nov 2003, pp. 24-24.

  29. Scientific literacy: Clear as mud

    Jonathan Knight.

    Nature, Vol. 423, No. 6938, May 22 2003, pp. 376-378.

  30. Workshop Biology: Demonstrating the Effectiveness of ActiveLearning in an Introductory Biology Course

    D. Udovic, D. Morris, A. Dickman, J. Postlethwait and P. Wetherwax.

    Bioscience, Vol. 52, No. 3, Mar 2002, pp. 272-281.

    The University of Oregon's Workshop Biology curriculum is one ofmany experimental approaches to teaching introductorycollege-level science that emerged during the last decade. TheWorkshop Biology project aimed at improving science literacy amongnonscience majors in the context of a major research university.The curriculum was developed, implemented, and evaluated duringthe period 1991-1994. The project included both the development ofthe Workshop Biology course (a three-term, lab-based introductorysequence for nonscience majors) and a thorough evaluation of itseffectiveness as compared with a traditional lecture-based course.

  31. Addressing the Age-Old Question: How Does Biology Apply To MyMajor?

    B. Wells and S. E. Neff.

    American Biology Teacher, Vol. 63, No. 1, Jan 2001, pp. 25-28.

    Abstract not available.

  32. Combining education with science in graduate student work

    R. L. Weiss and E. G. Rajotte.

    American Entomologist, Vol. 47, No. 2, Summer 2001, pp. 74-77.

  33. Parents explain more often to boys than to girls during shared scientific thinking

    K. Crowley, M. A. Callanan, H. R. Tenenbaum and E. Allen.

    Psychological science: Ajournal of the American Psychological Society / APS, Vol. 12, No. 3, May 2001, pp. 258-261.

    Young children's everyday scientific thinking often occurs in the context of parent-child interactions. In a study of naturally occurring family conversation, parents were three times more likely to explain science to boys than to girls while using interactive science exhibits in a museum. This difference in explanation occurred despite the fact that parents were equally likely to talk to their male and female children about how to use the exhibits and about the evidence generated by the exhibits. The findings suggest that parents engaged in informal science activities with their children may be unintentionally contributing to a gender gap in children's scientific literacy well before children encounter formal science instruction in grade school.

  34. Using a mock trial to develop scientific literacy and communication skills in an introductory environmental geology course; Geological Society of America, 2001 annual meeting

    Amy Larson Rhodes.

    Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America, Vol. 33, No. 6, 2001, pp. 64.

    In 1999 and 2000, students in an introductory, environmental geology course (65 students) conducted a mock trial that examined evidence related to an actual legal case presented in the story A Civil Action, by Jonathan Harr. This book recounts the lawsuit brought by eight families from Woburn, MA who charged that two industrial companies illegally dumped trichloroethlene and other industrial waste, which subsequently entered the groundwater, contaminated two municipal water supply wells, and caused their children to contract leukemia. A Civil Action provided a framework for teaching basic geologic principles that relate to groundwater movement, human water supply, and connections between industrial contamination and health problems. Students worked in "expert teams" hired by one of the opposing sides of the law case, Anne Anderson et al. vs. W. R. Grace & Co. and Beatrice Foods, Inc., and were subpoenaed to testify as expert witnesses. The groups collected scientific data from the literature, technical reports, newspaper stories, and internet in subjects of groundwater geology, contaminant chemistry, medicine, and statistics. Collaboratively, each group developed an argument, which they testified and defended orally in front of a Judge (a retired lawyer) and a jury during a three-hour trial. Groups of attorneys (students from the class) worked with expert teams to develop questions for testimonies and cross-examinations. In lieu of witness depositions, each team distributed a list of witnesses, a summary of intended testimony and copies of references, kept on reserve at the library. This allowed opposing sides to prepare for cross-examinations. Following the trial, each student authored an individually-written argument supported by her group's research, and provided a written analysis of the argument, based on how her group's testimony faired during cross-examination. The mock-trial provided a format for oral debate and research of scientific concepts. It facilitated teaching how to develop and defend ideas and to understand the limitations of scientific data in and out of the courtroom.

  35. Science matters : achieving scientific literacy / Robert M. Hazen and James Trefil

    Robert M. Hazen [1948-] and James S. Trefil [1938-].

    New York: Doubleday, 1991. xix, 294 pp.; Includes bibliographical references (p. [279]-282) and index

  36. Minimal and optimal components of scientific literacy

    F. J. Rutherford.

    AAAS Annual Meeting, 25-30 May 1986

  37. Scientific literacy: What it is and why it is important

    E. -An Zen.

    AAAS Annual Meeting, 15-20 Feb 1990