Math and Science Educational Resource Availability, Part 2

Clear Terms

We need to be clear on some terms. What constitutes a “math and science resource?” This might be seen as a gross generalization, but here’s our working definition:

Anything that acts to stimulate the imagination as related to technology and causes the student to consider the underlying scientific and mathematical concepts of the presentation material is a good math and science resource. In the best of all worlds, this consideration is then personalized and the student takes the initiative in pursuing further information.

The general response to this definition is something like: “Well, that works fine for the basic science. But what about the mathematics involved?” That leads to our second assumption and definition:

Math is the language of science. If you’ve kindled the interest in one, you’ve laid groundwork for the other. At some point in the further pursuit of information, the student will be sufficiently exposed to both elements because one tends to require the other.

So the trick to kindling this level of “personalized interest” will lie in the means of presentation.

Learning Styles

The resource materials need to be “appropriate” on two levels: age appropriate and learning style appropriate. I personally favor letting the age appropriateness of the material find its own level. In any group of students, there will be fast learners and slow learners; more abstract thinkers and less abstract thinkers. Experience tells me that this distinction is *usually* based on age. But perhaps a better term would be “mental or intellectual maturity.” If it’s too far over their heads or beneath their abilities, they’ll filter it out. That’s beyond the control of the presenters and will sort itself out.

Learning style, on the other hand, can be catered to. There are generally considered to be three “styles” of learning: Visual, Auditory, and Tactile/Kinesthetic. All this implies is that there are three preferred (not necessarily mutually exclusive) ways by which students tend to assimilate knowledge:

  • By seeing the information
  • By hearing the information
  • By touching or moving with the information

If students can hold something in their hands to look at and perform an activity with it during or following a verbal presentation, their chances of retaining information about that subject are increased. But that’s not to say no learning takes place if the information is only seen, or only heard or only touched. It merely predicts the learning process will be more successful when all three elements are combined.

The Aerospace Educational Development Program (AEDP) has attempted to combine elements of each of these learning styles into its on-line material. The General Astronomy Education Page provides hot-linked material that is visual and sometimes auditory. The Animated Astronomy Education Page provides hot-linked material that is moving and often of a multi-media basis. The Scale Model Communication Satellite provides something that the student can actively assemble, hold in their hands and actually see the various components of the space craft. Additional materials are currently being developed and added to the site.

[The second of two articles discussing the availability of math and science materials on the Internet.]

Online Science Education – Resources For K to 12 Educators and Home School Parents

Are you looking for online science education resources to support teaching K-12 science? There are many resources on the internet and it is difficult for teachers to find the time to surf the web looking for online resources. The best option is to visit a one-stop resource for K-12 science educators’ that is an online directory of resources designed for science education. Not only can teachers use a resource like this, it would also be perfect for parents’ home schooling their children.

Inquiry Based Teaching and Learning

If you are looking for K-12 science lesson plans, web resources, and references to support inquiry based teaching and learning, you have probably found this search difficult. Like other web resources it takes time to surf the web and find them. What is needed is a directory of science inquiry based resources categorized into topics that support K-12 science teaching and learning. What is needed is for someone to do this for you.

Directory resources that are most valuable to K-12 science educators include lesson plans, assessment guides, curriculum guides, standards guidelines, search engines for science, and more. Also there is a need for online resources that support all science content areas.

Teaching Science using Technology

There are many types of technology strategies for teaching K-12 science. These include the use of web resources, online simulators, WebQuests, real-time data bases, online interactive websites, and many more options. A website that provides a directory of a wide variety of web based resources is very helpful to K-12 educators.

This type of website would be used to support their teaching strategies. Actively engaging students in learning, instead of being passive learners. You can take students on virtual field trips to places all over the world: zoos, volcanos in other countries, and more.

Additional Resources

Other K-12 online science education resources needed by teachers and parents include access to journals, current science news topics, and online science teaching research books. One particular resource that is needed is a guide for recommended reading books to support science at all grade levels. Reading is stressed even more today to meet state and national education requirements and an online resource would help educators save time trying to find books that meet content standards.

Because of the emphasis on standards and testing today, teachers do want to go to a website that waste their time. All resources need to be pre-screened to ensure that they meet national science standards’ guidelines for teaching science using inquiry based practices. Also, that the technology based resources on the website meets national technology and science standards.

A directory that has updated links is especially important to provide resources. Teachers and parents are tired of going to science directories that are full of dead links. It wastes their time and frustration sets in, because more valuable time has been wasted.

What is needed is an online science education resource website that is specifically designed for K-12 science educators and home schooling parents.

Life Science Education Using More Advanced Tools

For most students there are few courses more exciting than those that deal with life science education. The study of life as we know it is a dynamic and intensely detailed experience and has immediate application to all walks of life. It’s one thing to study math and then notice similarities in your day to day patterns but it’s quite another thing to study life science and then realize the cellular structure that your memorizing is actually one that is in your own body.

As such it’s important to make sure you’re on track when you’re learning life science. One of the best ways to learn is to simply purchase one of the many learning courses available for computer use. There are a number to pick from but it’s worth checking them out a bit so you make sure that you’re getting the type of life science education that you learn best from and that way you’ll actually use the course and learn from it.

The first thing to notice is whether or not the technical specifications fit your computer. Make sure that the course is compatible with your operating system so that you don’t wind up paying for something you can’t use. A lot of the courses these days are available via the internet and while that is handy it’s less reliable than simply owning the course yourself and using it whenever you want regardless of the state of your internet connection.

Once you have the tech handled, notice if the course teaches in a way that compliments your learning style. If you like organized learning and regular feedback then pick a course with definite sections and regular testing procedures. If you’re less structured then pick one with a more encyclopedia type approach that will allow you to pick and choose the area you want to learn that day.

Once you’ve selected your course in life science education it’s up to you to use it. Few things are as disciplined as self learning and it is no easy feat to make sure you’re spending time regularly learning new things. There are so many other tempting ways to spend your time. But stick with it and apply yourself and you’ll be amazed at how quickly the mysteries and wonders of life science become part of your everyday life.