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Research reports on early education from NIEER and outside organizations

Research Reports

What Research Says About K-8 Science Learning and Teaching


November 1, 2007
OutcomesQuality and CurriculumWorkforce

The way we teach science fails to recognize that "Children are capable of abstract reasoning and theory building from very early ages" writes Rutgers University science education professor Richard A. Duschl in a compelling article in the November/December 2007 issue of Principal, a magazine published by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

What Research Says About K-8 Science Learning and Teaching

The way we teach science fails to recognize that “Children are capable of abstract reasoning and theory building from very early ages” writes Rutgers University science education professor Richard A. Duschl in a compelling article in the November/December 2007 issue of Principal, a magazine published by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Duschl, who chairs the Committee on Science Learning, K-8 at the National Research Council (NRC), wrote the article with two colleagues at NRC. They document other shortcomings in current practice, including a failure to enable children to go through “learning progressions” that function across modules, units and years of instruction. They say current methods are too disconnected and frequently separate teaching of concepts from the teaching of the processes, skills and practices common to science. Among their recommendations is a major revision of standards, curricula and assessments to reflect what we now know about children’s thinking.