Science for the Next Generation
by William Banko, Marshall L. Grant, Michael E. Jabot, Alan J. McCormack, Thomas O'Brien

Price at time of review: $34.95
290 pp.
NSTA Press
Arlington, VA
ISBN: 9781936959266

Grade Level: K-5

Reviewed by David Tumbarello
Project Manger in the Department of Family Medicine

In the subtitle to the Introduction, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu sums up the thesis of this book: “Turning Today’s Children into Tomorrow’s Leaders.” At its most fundamental level, science instruction should prepare students to use structured inquiry outside of the traditional educational setting. As this book asserts, with our educational system moving beyond No Child Left Behind, past diverse state standards, and into the Next Generation Science Standards (see, educators and students throughout the country will benefit from a progression of coherent science standards that are based on depth instead of breadth.

With an emphasis on Science and Engineering, this book not only describes K–5 lessons based on NGSS, but explores how learning occurs and why student scientists will benefit from an emphasis on engagement rather than memorization. But the book is more than a collection of lessons. This is a primer on the phenomenon of science instruction: addressing how classroom science instructors can apply best practices while demonstrating examples of effective teaching. Contributors include U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, Nobel Prize Winner and Secretary of Education, Steven Chu, former NSTA Present and science teaching expert, Alan McCormack, and over 20 leaders who have been instrumental in creating and implementing science curriculum.

Seven sample lessons in the areas of physical, life, and Earth and space sciences, serve as a teaching template of the five–day, 5E format: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. Teachers will learn ways to help students make connections, investigate phenomenon, describe observations and inferences, prepare and present models, and compare how conclusions measure up to benchmarks in the Standards. The goal of the 5E framework is not to teach students facts and not to measure success by laboratory or engineering perfection. The goal is to empower budding scientists and allow them to explore the world, ask meaningful questions about natural phenomenon, and choose the best science and engineering practices to understand and explain their experience. This guide provides an argument and a framework for teaching the Next Generation Science Standards and is a necessary resource for any K–5 teacher or administrator who is responsible for bringing the Next Generation Science Standards into the classroom.

Review posted on 7/16/2013

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