AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 21 Astronomy Education Research
Poster, Monday, January 5, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Hanover Hall

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[21.05] Science Illiteracy: Breaking the Cycle

L.A. Lebofsky (U. Arizona), N.R. Lebofsky (U. Arizona, Retired)

At the University of Arizona, as at many state universities and colleges, the introductory science classes for non-science majors may be the only science classes that future K--8 teachers will take. The design of the UA's General Education program requires all future non-science certified teachers to take the General Education science classes. These classes are therefore an ideal venue for the training of the state’s future teachers.

Many students, often including future teachers, are ill-prepared for college, i.e., they lack basic science content knowledge, basic mathematics skills, and reading and writing skills. They also lack basic critical thinking skills and study skills. It is within this context that our future teachers are trained. How do we break the cycle of science illiteracy?

There is no simple solution, and certainly not a one-size-fits-all panacea that complements every professor's style of instruction. However, there are several programs at the University of Arizona, and also principles that I apply in my own classes, that may be adaptable in other classrooms.

Assessment of K--12 students' learning supports the use of inquiry-based science instruction. This approach can be incorporated in college classes. Modeling proven and productive teaching methods for the future teachers provides far more than ``just the facts,'' and all students gain from the inquiry approach. Providing authentic research opportunities employs an inquiry-based approach. Reading (outside the textbook) and writing provide feedback to students with poor writing and critical thinking skills. Using peer tutors and an instant messaging hot line gives experience to the tutors and offers "comfortable" assistance to students.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://nats102.arizona.edu. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: lebofsky@lpl.arizona.edu

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© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.