Ready, set, science!: putting research to work in K-8 science classrooms

| May 19, 2011

Title: Ready, set, science! : putting research to work in K-8 science classrooms

Authors: Sarah Michaels, Andrew W. Shouse, and Heidi A. Schweingruber; Board on Science Education, Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council of the National Academies.

Publisher: Washington, D.C. : National Academies Press, c2008

Call no.: LB1585.3 .M53 2008

From the Publisher:

What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to create and support such experiences?

Ready, Set, Science! guides the way with an account of the groundbreaking and comprehensive synthesis of research into teaching and learning science in kindergarten through eighth grade. Based on the recently released National Research Council report Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8, this book summarizes a rich body of findings from the learning sciences and builds detailed cases of science educators at work to make the implications of research clear, accessible, and stimulating for a broad range of science educators.

Ready, Set, Science! is filled with classroom case studies that bring to life the research findings and help readers to replicate success. Most of these stories are based on real classroom experiences that illustrate the complexities that teachers grapple with every day. They show how teachers work to select and design rigorous and engaging instructional tasks, manage classrooms, orchestrate productive discussions with culturally and linguistically diverse groups of students, and help students make their thinking visible using a variety of representational tools.

This book will be an essential resource for science education practitioners and contains information that will be extremely useful to everyone including parents directly or indirectly involved in the teaching of science.

About the Authors

Sarah Michaels is a professor at the Department of Education at Clark University. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College (1975), and an M.A. (1976) and Ph.D. (1981) in Education (Language and Literacy) from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to coming to Clark in 1990, Michaels served as Director of the Literacies Institute in Newton, MA, funded by the Mellon Foundation. She also directed projects on language and schooling with funding from the Spencer Foundation, Carnegie, and the Department of Education, while serving as a Research Associate and Instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has been the PI or Director of grants and programs (from foundations, state and federal agencies, and private donors). A sociolinguist by training, she has been actively involved in teaching and research in the area of language, culture, “multiliteracies,” and the discourses of math and science.  She was the founding Director of the Hiatt Center for Urban Education and works to bring together teacher education, educational research on classroom discourse, and district-based efforts at educational reform.  She is currently the Senior Research Scholar of the Jacob Hiatt Center for Urban Education. Dr. Michaels is also affiliated with the programs in Communication and Culture and Urban Development and Social Change.

Sarah Michaels is currently involved in a variety of research projects which focus on academically productive talk in math, science, and English Language Arts, from Pre-Kindergarten through High School.  In these projects, she is working on curriculum and professional development so that it focuses central attention on rigorous, coherent, and equitable classroom discourse.

Andrew W. Shouse is an educational researcher and policy analyst whose interests include teacher development, science education, and communication of educational research to policy and practice audiences. In his current position as Program Officer with the National Research Council’s (NRC) Board on Science Education (BOSE) he is involved in four sponsored projects. He is Co-Director (with Heidi Schweingruber) of Science Learning K-8, a synthesis of the multi-disciplinary literature on science learning, which will provide strategic guidance for future research and development in science education (sponsored by NSF, NIH, and the Merck Institute for Science Education). He is Director of the Science Learning K-8 Practitioner project (a “translation” of the Science Learning K-8 report findings for an audience of school, district, and state-level science education practitioners). Dr. Shouse is also Director of Learning Science in Informal Environments, a synthesis study of the literatures on learning science in non-school settings (sponsored by NSF). He is also currently conducting (with Yan Liu) an evaluation of the Educational Outreach Component of NSF’s Materials Science Research Centers (subcontract with the NRC Board on Physics and Astronomy).

Dr. Shouse serves as an advisor to a U.S. Department of Education-sponsored teacher quality study (Doug Harris, Florida State University, PI). He reviews for the journal Urban Education, annual conferences of the American Educational Research Association, and the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, and sits on NSF’s Math-Science Partnerships review panel.

Prior to joining the NRC, Dr. Shouse worked as an educational research and evaluation consultant (clients include The Educational Policy Center at Michigan State University, the State of Michigan, and The World Bank), a science center administrator, and elementary and middle grades teacher. Dr. Shouse received his Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy from Michigan State University.

Heidi A. Schweingruber is the deputy director of the Board on Science Education (BOSE) at the National Research Council (NRC). She co-directed the study that produced the 2007 Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8 and served as research associate on America’s Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science (2005). She is currently co-directing the project to create a conceptual framework for new science education standards. Prior to joining the NRC, Dr. Schweingruber worked as a senior research associate at the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education where she served as a program officer for the preschool curriculum evaluation program and for a grant program in mathematics education. She was also a liaison to the Department of Education’s Mathematics and Science Initiative and an adviser to the Early Reading First program. Previously, she was the director of research for the Rice University School Mathematics Project, an outreach project in K-12 mathematics education, and taught in the psychology and education departments at Rice University. She has a Ph.D. in psychology (developmental) and anthropology, and a certificate in culture and cognition from the University of Michigan.