Many teachers don't spend any time teaching science, which is not good. The San Francisco Chronicle did interviews about science in different Bay Are Elementary Schools and it was amazing what I found out. When the interviewer asked the third graders what they liked best about science they looked puzzled. There was no answer. The second question asked to the kids was, What is science? One of the seven year olds said it was like art. The rest looked puzzled as well.
When the teachers were asked how often they taught science they said, they spent less than an hour each week teaching science. In contrast, a national study seven years found elementary school science instruction averaged more than two hours per week. This was confirmed by the lead researcher on the new study (Rena Dorph). It's alarming because it's a very short amount of time dedicated to a subject that's considered a core subject in schools. Understanding science helps children learn to think and solve problems while questioning the world around them.
Science has to definitely be taught at an early age. There is evidence that people who go into scientific fields generally learned to love science as children. And how are you going to understand high school science if you haven't had it before fifth grade? About 16 percent of the elementary teachers said they spent no time on science at all. Most taught at schools that had missed the reading and math benchmarks of the No Child Left Behind and they were trying to catch up. Most kindergarten to fifth grade students typically had science instruction no more than twice a week. Ten times as many teachers said they felt unprepared to teach science (41) percent than felt unprepared to teach math (4) percent or reading (4) percent. Fewer than half of Bay Area (California) fifth-graders (47 percent) scored at grade level or above on last spring's California standards test in science. This is due to the lack of time spent on science. Many of the teachers said that they had only had time for three thirty minute lessons since the semester had began. They felt rushed when teaching science.
One of the teachers interviewed named Mrs. Dart said, " In order to develop a scientific way of thinking, the thing you need the most is time. And in our test-driven schools today, time for experimenting and exploring is what we have the least of." Mrs. Dart also said, " The demands of No Child Left behind made it almost impossible to devote enough time to science." Many teachers are know finding solutions for this big problem we are facing all over the U.S. We as future teachers have to find solutions too. If there is not much time for science we should definitely intergrate it into
our literacy curriculum. We can also sneak in science while teaching our math lessons.
Change is currently already happening which is a great start. Teachers are already getting new textbooks and materials that are more updated to teach science. In many schools aroud the U.S. teachers have a science coach twice a week for three weeks to model science lessons. Teachers have agreed this has been beneficial and they have felt more comfortable while teaching their classroom science lessons. This is the beginning to a great future change. Hopefully soon science is included daily in everyone's lesson plan. This would benefit the children so much in different academic ways.
By: Cynthia Romero