When I was in seventh grade, we began our first “real” physical sciences class with a discussion of the scientific method. It made science seem pretty straightforward: make an observation, develop a hypothesis, test the hypothesis with an experiment, and draw conclusions as to whether the hypothesis was right or wrong. It wasn’t until I got to college that I found out real science is a lot messier than that … it wasn’t a simple linear path from single observation to definitive conclusion – it was iterative and filled with dead end trials, revised assumptions, and conflicting data. I loved every frustrating, confusing minute of it, and it hammered into my head the knowledge that science isn’t a fixed body of facts; it’s a method for exploring and understanding the world.
Science education in Tennessee is aimed at helping students to capture the same enthusiasm and sense of discovery that Ms. Kelly experienced in college, but to enable this to happen much earlier and more frequently…from kindergarten through high school. At the Tennessee Curriculum Center science teachers can access resources that will help them develop clear learning targets and to carefully align their instruction and assessment practices with their goals for student learning.