Young children are naturally curious about everything around them. They want to know how and why things work. Then, around middle school age, many of them lose that natural attraction to science and engineering.
A team of university and public school educators in Michigan say they know what’s wrong with middle school science education. And, with a $5 million, three-year grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, they intend to develop and test some solutions.
“In Michigan and most of the nation’s schools, STEM instruction consists of a series of seemingly unrelated courses that require students to memorize large numbers of facts but fail to engage them in the practice of using science as a tool to address real-world problems,” says Jacqueline Huntoon, a geology professor, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School at Michigan Tech.
The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, based in Midland, Mich., has funded the Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform (Mi-STAR) program to develop a model for reforming middle-school STEM education that will include a new curriculum supported by updated teacher education and teacher professional development strategies.
The program focuses on integrating the sciences, using a problem-based approach, cutting across the traditional disciplines of biology, physics, chemistry and earth science to emphasize core ideas and show how science can be used to address society’s needs. For the full story, see Michigan Tech News.