Scientific Literacy

Grant R. Cramer cramer at MED.UNR.EDU
Wed Feb 3 18:23:39 EST 1999


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My wife is an elementary school teacher in Nevada. She has asked me several
times to come and speak to her students. There never seemed to be a problem
fitting it in; the curriculum seems quite flexible and she and other
teachers were very excited to have someone of my "expertise" in their
classroom. It seems to me that teachers can pretty much determine what and
when they teach it in their own classrooms on any given day.

Grant R. Cramer
Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry
University of Nevada
Reno, NV 89557
phone: (702) 784-4204
fax: (702) 784-1650
email: cramer at med.unr.edu
web page: http://BIOCHEM.MED.UNR.EDU/faculty/grant_c/

----------
>From: monique at bio.tamu.edu (Monique Reed)
>To: plant-ed at net.bio.net
>Subject: Re: Scientific Literacy
>Date: Wed, Feb 3, 1999, 4:20 PM
>

>I agree--it would really help to have experts come into the schools to
share 
>what we know.  My experience with this is that I have volunteered to go to 
>local schools to talk about botany, lead field trips, do show and tell with

>unusal plants.  How many times have I been taken up on the offer?  None. 
The 
>few times a teacher has approached *me* and made room in her lesson plan
for 
>an activity, it has gone well, the students have been enthusiastic, and 
>"something got learned."
>
>I get the impression from friends of mine in elementary through high school

>education that teachers are so hemmed in by lesson plan requirements, time 
>constraints, budget limitations, and miscellaneous regulations that there 
>isn't a lot of room for creative curriculum.  Only those teachers who
really 
>fight to go beyond the basic class structure are able to accomplish more
than 
>traditional coverage of lesson material.  They're told to teach A, B, and C

>because that is on the state assessment exam; the students know they have
to 
>know only A, B, and C to pass the state assessment exam--and no one thinks 
>that D, E, and F might be fun, interesting, or useful.
>
>Monique Reed, botanist
>Biology Department
>Texas A&M University
>
>>I want to thank David Kramer for his thoughtful comments on teaching
scientific
>>literacy at the elementary school level.  Too few of us have any hands on
>>experience with students OR teachers from that level, and we really must
adjust
>>our expectations according to their generalist approach to teaching.  We
are all
>>so used to being specialists, and working with High School teachers who
are also
>>specialists.  One approach to improving science projects and understanding
the
>>process of science at the elementary school level is to have experts (us)
come
>>into the schools and work directly with the students and teachers.  This
>>approach seems to me to be the most immediate solution and perhaps the
most
>>direct solution.  Perhaps workshops to train the specialists how to
interact
>>with 5th graders would be more valuable than workshops where the
specialists
>>train the generalists how to think like a specialist.
>
>
>
>>Bernadette Roche
>>Department of Biology
>>Loyola College
>>4501 N. Charles St. 
>>Baltimore, MD 21210
>>broche at loyola.edu
>>410-617-5591
>
>



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<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Re: Scientific Literacy</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY BGCOLOR=3D"#FFFFFF">
<FONT SIZE=3D"1"><TT>My wife is an elementary school teacher in Nevada. She h=
as asked me several<BR>
times to come and speak to her students. There never seemed to be a problem=
<BR>
fitting it in; the curriculum seems quite flexible and she and other<BR>
teachers were very excited to have someone of my &quot;expertise&quot; in t=
heir<BR>
classroom. It seems to me that teachers can pretty much determine what and<=
BR>
when they teach it in their own classrooms on any given day.<BR>
</TT></FONT><BR>
Grant R. Cramer<BR>
Associate Professor<BR>
Department of Biochemistry<BR>
University of Nevada<BR>
Reno, NV 89557<BR>
phone: (702) 784-4204<BR>
fax: (702) 784-1650<BR>
email: cramer at med.unr.edu<BR>
web page: http://BIOCHEM.MED.UNR.EDU/faculty/grant_c/<BR>
<BR>
----------<BR>
&gt;From: monique at bio.tamu.edu (Monique Reed)<BR>
&gt;To: plant-ed at net.bio.net<BR>
&gt;Subject: Re: Scientific Literacy<BR>
&gt;Date: Wed, Feb 3, 1999, 4:20 PM<BR>
&gt;<BR>
<BR>
&gt;I agree--it would really help to have experts come into the schools to =
share <BR>
&gt;what we know.  My experience with this is that I have volunteered to go=
 to <BR>
&gt;local schools to talk about botany, lead field trips, do show and tell =
with <BR>
&gt;unusal plants.  How many times have I been taken up on the offer?  None=
.  The <BR>
&gt;few times a teacher has approached *me* and made room in her lesson pla=
n for <BR>
&gt;an activity, it has gone well, the students have been enthusiastic, and=
 <BR>
&gt;&quot;something got learned.&quot;<BR>
&gt;<BR>
&gt;I get the impression from friends of mine in elementary through high sc=
hool <BR>
&gt;education that teachers are so hemmed in by lesson plan requirements, t=
ime <BR>
&gt;constraints, budget limitations, and miscellaneous regulations that the=
re <BR>
&gt;isn't a lot of room for creative curriculum.  Only those teachers who r=
eally <BR>
&gt;fight to go beyond the basic class structure are able to accomplish mor=
e than <BR>
&gt;traditional coverage of lesson material.  They're told to teach A, B, a=
nd C <BR>
&gt;because that is on the state assessment exam; the students know they ha=
ve to <BR>
&gt;know only A, B, and C to pass the state assessment exam--and no one thi=
nks <BR>
&gt;that D, E, and F might be fun, interesting, or useful.<BR>
&gt;<BR>
&gt;Monique Reed, botanist<BR>
&gt;Biology Department<BR>
&gt;Texas A&amp;M University<BR>
&gt;<BR>
&gt;&gt;I want to thank David Kramer for his thoughtful comments on teachin=
g scientific<BR>
&gt;&gt;literacy at the elementary school level.  Too few of us have any ha=
nds on<BR>
&gt;&gt;experience with students OR teachers from that level, and we really=
 must adjust<BR>
&gt;&gt;our expectations according to their generalist approach to teaching=
.  We are all<BR>
&gt;&gt;so used to being specialists, and working with High School teachers=
 who are also<BR>
&gt;&gt;specialists.  One approach to improving science projects and unders=
tanding the<BR>
&gt;&gt;process of science at the elementary school level is to have expert=
s (us) come<BR>
&gt;&gt;into the schools and work directly with the students and teachers. =
 This<BR>
&gt;&gt;approach seems to me to be the most immediate solution and perhaps =
the most<BR>
&gt;&gt;direct solution.  Perhaps workshops to train the specialists how to=
 interact<BR>
&gt;&gt;with 5th graders would be more valuable than workshops where the sp=
ecialists<BR>
&gt;&gt;train the generalists how to think like a specialist.<BR>
&gt;<BR>
&gt;<BR>
&gt;<BR>
&gt;&gt;Bernadette Roche<BR>
&gt;&gt;Department of Biology<BR>
&gt;&gt;Loyola College<BR>
&gt;&gt;4501 N. Charles St. <BR>
&gt;&gt;Baltimore, MD 21210<BR>
&gt;&gt;broche at loyola.edu<BR>
&gt;&gt;410-617-5591<BR>
&gt;<BR>
&gt;<BR>
<BR>
<BR>
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