Science lessons are often manufactured. They contain labs that “wow” students and are used to make science “fun.” Natural phenomena should inspire students to say “wow” and finding science “fun,” should be replaced with finding science “interesting and meaningful.” Why do we, as science educators, reinvent the wheel, when we can look to science and scientists for a model of classroom pedagogy? Science is complex and learning about science cannot be reduced to a simple formula. Students should mimic professionals in the field. Lessons should be driven by discovery and not a restrictive plan complete with a Do Now and an Exit Ticket. Science, by nature, is not predetermined. Neither should the outcome of every lesson be predetermined. Science in the classroom should allow for one experiment leading to an offshoot that spurs a totally different investigation. While gathering data is still the key to provide students with the evidence they need to argue their position, a junior scientist should have a say in where he/she goes next after his/her initial findings. Currently, school prepares students for school. However, science driving science education would help to prepare students for a life-long relationship with science, lead to theoretical discussions that are applicable to the real world, provide ownership of ideas and concepts, and create a deep seated affection and appreciation for the world around us.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) do address a necessary paradigm shift in how science education is enacted. They are research based, current and designed to give educators flexibility when implementing them. Whether or not a state is an adopter of the NGSS, the three-dimensional approach outlines good teaching practice, with science driving science education. However, as intuitive an educational philosophy as prescribed in the NGSS, it is often difficult for a teacher to navigate all of the online and written materials. This presentation will provide a “Cliff Notes” version of NGSS highlighting earth viewing satellites and atmospheric and hydrologic phenomena. Afterwards, educators should have a clearer picture of the main components of effective science pedagogy.