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Call for Papers: Science and Children

Science and Children coverYour 2000-word manuscript should describe a set of connected lessons or investigations that build an idea or content area. They should include assessments (pre-, post- and formative) as well as enough detail that another teacher could replicate the lessons in the classroom. Examples of student work are encouraged.

Please read our manuscript guidelines before submitting your manuscript. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically; once online, follow the steps for New Author Registration. For more information, contact managing editor Valynda Mayes at vmayes@nsta.org.

Don't see a theme that fits your idea? Don’t let that stop you from writing! We always make room for good manuscripts on any elementary science topic.

Upcoming Themes

September/October 2023: Eclipses Across America

Deadline December  Extended to January 6, 2022
We are in store for an astronomical treat during the 2023–2024 school year. To prepare for the momentous events of two eclipses passing across vast sections of the United States, we will focus our September/October 2023 issue on these events. October 14, 2023, there will be an annular solar eclipse crossing from Oregon through Texas. A total solar eclipse will follow on April 8, 2024, stretching from Texas to Maine. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until August 12, 2045, to have another total solar eclipse with a predominately U.S. trajectory, so let’s get ready for the captivating eclipses!

Article suggestions for this issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Share a three-dimensional lesson or unit focusing on ESS1.A or ESS1.B specifically for grades 1 or 5.
  • Explain how a phenomenal event, such as an eclipse, can be used to launch student-led science and engineering practices (i.e., Planning and Carrying Out Investigations).
  • Share types of misconceptions students bring to this topic and what you do to help them reconceptualize their understandings.
  • Provide information about citizen science projects where elementary students can add to the crowdsourced data.
  • Describe how students can become community/school resources to share information about the eclipse (e.g., when and where to see it, why it occurs, why they are so rare for a given location, how to safely view it).
  • Share how to create cross-curricular investigations incorporating literacy, history, art, and mathematics as students prepare for community viewing of the eclipses.
November/December 2023: Making Science Accessible for All

Deadline February 1, 2023

How are we reducing barriers to access and finding ways to make science learning relevant, engaging, and accessible for our students? When we emphasize building accessible learning spaces, with varied learning materials and experiences, with opportunities for communication, we help create a more inclusive, supportive classroom environment for all students. We can help reduce social stigmas and marginalization of students and provide learning opportunities where all students are valued members of the learning community.  

Whether we are addressing physical classroom configurations, modifications that allow increased access, or strategies that reduce barriers and emphasize student engagement, we are creating more equitable and inclusive learning communities.

Article suggestions for this issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Share how science classroom environments and routines can be structured to be more accessible and inclusive.
  • Describe a science or STEM lesson focusing on effective differentiation strategies to increase student engagement.
  • Considering students’ social-emotional development, share high-quality science and STEM resources to support young learners’ emotional needs.
  • Additionally, consider sharing strategies for developing and implementing such things as inclusive field trips, interactive technologies, lesson modifications for varying ability levels, and creating safe, supportive classrooms that honor all learners.
  • Describe how we can encourage students with exceptionalities to consider science and science-related careers.
January/February 2024: Crosscutting Concepts

Deadline April 1, 2023

A Framework for K–12 Science Education (NRC 2012) has provided us with important conceptual shifts in how students learn and why it is essential to prepare students to be able to not only “know” science but to be able to “do” science. Across the country, many states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards or created closely aligned versions. 

Teachers have been working with disciplinary core ideas (the “what”) and the science and engineering practices (the “how”) and have productively integrated them into their teaching practice. But what about the crosscutting concepts? Many teachers need help with how and when to fit them into the learning. To others, these remain a mystery, often left out or tacked on to the end of lessons.

The crosscutting concepts have been referred to as structured reflection lenses used to help explain phenomena, as application points that allow students to study phenomena from different perspectives, or as thinking tools to understand phenomena. According to The Framework, “Crosscutting concepts have value because they provide students with connections and intellectual tools that are related across the differing areas of disciplinary content and can enrich their application of practices and their understanding of core ideas” — NRC 2012, p. 233.

Let’s move the crosscutting concepts from being the left out, forgotten, or often overlooked dimension to being a powerful addition to your students’ three-dimensional science toolkit.

Article suggestions for this issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Explain how you use the crosscutting concepts to help students make sense of various content to develop a more robust, long-lasting understanding of science and engineering.
  • Share how focusing on using the crosscutting concepts in tried-and-true lessons has elevated learning and increased student engagement and proficiency.
  • Describe a lesson where the crosscutting concepts allowed students to engage more deeply and metacognitively in their shared learning.
  • Identify how crosscutting concepts can be coupled or bundled to increase student attention to the causal relationships in phenomena.
  • Focusing on assessment, share how formative assessment using the language of the crosscutting concepts can help students make sense of phenomena and allow them to provide more detailed, connected responses.

 

March/April 2024: Climate Justice

Deadline June 1, 2023

It’s time to think about making connections between science, citizen action, and solving global issues. The current news details stories of shrinking habitats and increased ferocity of natural disasters, revealing inequities in community resources and resiliency.

Climate justice is inseparable from social justice. Some people are more vulnerable than others to the destabilization of Earth’s systems caused by our changing climate. Understanding scientific concepts has become essential in this wide-ranging societal issue, with implications for individuals, communities, and international stability. Science learned in school is vital and relevant. 

Teaching climate science may feel daunting for teachers as we often rightfully fear inflicting trauma or doomsday scenarios on young learners. But students are well aware of changes influenced by climate and our role in these changes. Climate science, as community science or citizen science, may help bridge this divide. Promoting climate justice can foster more than stewardship; young citizens can see themselves as making a difference, informing experts, and powerfully connecting with their community.

Article suggestions for this issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Share a community science project where students, families, and the community participated in a phenology study. Phenology studies seasonal life-cycle patterns such as flower blooms, bird nest building, and turtle egg laying.  
  • Describe a climate justice lesson or study where students shared results or finding to be used directly in conservation work, resource management, or policy change—for example, changes in school/community recycling, native plant restorations, or wetland management.
  • Identify how technology has enhanced climate lessons through data collection, variable manipulation, ability to compare habitats far and wide and through time.  
  • Explain how a local phenomenon (flood, drought, fire, inequity of resources) inspired students to communicate through local action and climate solutions.
  • Share ways indigenous communities have communicated and responded to climate change innovatively. 
May/June 2024: Connecting Mathematics and Science

Deadline June 1, 2023

Science and mathematics go hand in hand, yet many teachers struggle to find the connection points that would promote conceptual understandings in both areas. We all know students learn best when subjects are integrated, not siloed into “let’s put our mathematician hats on now” or “it’s science time, let’s think like scientists.” As mathematics and science educators, we need to support our colleagues by identifying and implementing effective strategies to meaningfully and purposefully integrate mathematics and science. Let’s dive deeper beyond the familiar integration points of data collection, graphing, and measurement to share purposeful ways to develop scientific and mathematical thinkers who are ready to solve problems and make sense of their world.

In a partnership with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK–12, Science and Children will explore how to deepen conceptual understandings of mathematics and science through authentic learning experiences that intertwine mathematics and science in preschool and elementary classrooms.

For this collaborative issue, authors may submit companion pieces to each journal, a fully integrated science lesson with a mathematics connection to S&C (https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/nsta/), or a fully integrated mathematics lesson with a science connection to MTLT (https://mc04.manuscriptcentral.com/mtltpk12). Articles will either appear as companion articles in respective journals or be shared as cross-curricular articles in both journals.

Article considerations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Share a lesson where mathematics and science content are fully integrated, allowing students to make sense of conceptual understandings in both subject areas.
  • Develop a lesson focusing on students’ reasoning abstractly and quantitatively to explain or communicate the results of scientific explorations using arguments from evidence.
  • Describe a lesson or unit of study that cultivates essential understanding allowing students to view mathematics and science as tools to question, analyze, represent, and communicate findings.  
  • Share a lesson where students use mathematical and computational thinking to build relationships and models to make sense of observations and collected data gathered during a scientific investigation.
  • Incorporate engineering and technology with mathematics and science for a complete STEM lesson. 

Not ready to pen a feature article?

Consider writing a column. These shorter, focused pieces are the perfect way to share your experiences with the wider elementary science community.

NEW! Leadership Matters: Tools, Strategies, and Resources to Support Leaders

Educational leadership encompasses various roles and opportunities, from classroom experts to national policy decision-makers. In collaboration with the National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA), Science and Children will explore aspects of developing and supporting science educator leadership within the classroom, school, district, and beyond. This column will highlight innovative, best-practice ideas in K–5 science and engineering teaching and learning that reflect the vision of A Framework for K–12 Science Education (NRC 2012) to enhance teaching and learning in preschool and elementary science classrooms. Length: 2000 words.

Article suggestions for this column include, but are not limited to, the following:

Share examples of science education leadership opportunities, enhancing the professional competence and leadership status of elementary science education.

  • Provide pathways that promote equitable opportunities and cultural awareness in science and STEM teaching and learning, including the involvement of families and the community.
  • Share ideas for universities and/or informal science institution partnerships in which efficient and effective leadership opportunities for elementary science are practiced.
  • Illustrate how shifts in science teaching and learning can be sustained and supported through transformative professional development and leadership roles for elementary educators. 
  • Share practical strategies, tools, and resources elementary science leaders can use to build the confidence and capacity of elementary teachers to teach science effectively.

Please contact column editor Kathy Renfrew at krsciencelady@gmail.com for more information and submissions.

Teaching Teachers: Enhancing the repertoire of preservice and inservice teachers

With the goal of "enhancing the repertoire of preservice and inservice teachers," this column provides information for undergraduate instructors, those responsible for professional development programs, and classroom teachers seeking guidance in developing their instructional skills. A Framework for K–12 Science Education acknowledges that science certification requirements are fairly weak for elementary teachers. With the significant changes recently adopted by many school systems, inservice elementary teachers may now find themselves with additional demands. We are seeking manuscripts that focus on the needs of elementary science teachers and those entering the profession by providing deep understanding of the elements of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS); research-based teaching and learning strategies to help reach all students; and a solid knowledge base in STEM core ideas. As stated in the Framework, teachers also require, "… experiences that help them understand how students think, what they are capable of doing, and what they might reasonably be expected to do under supportive instructional conditions" (p. 257). Articles should be strengthened by providing an application of ideas to an actual classroom experience. Length: 2000 words

Start with Phenomena: Making Sense of the Natural and Designed World

Let’s start with the phenomena. We’ve heard a great deal about the use of phenomena recently as an essential part of implementing NGSS. What are phenomena, and how are they used in science and engineering classrooms? Where do phenomena fit within an instructional sequence or lesson?

According to NGSS, phenomena are observable events in our world where we can use science and engineering knowledge to explain, predict, or solve. Phenomena are considered the context for the work of both scientists and engineers.

For this column, we are looking for classroom-tested lessons that highlight the use of phenomena to pique student interest in developing explanations or solutions and create authentic opportunities for student learning. Whether it’s an anchor, investigative, or everyday phenomenon, tell us how you’ve used well-placed phenomena to deepen and enrich learning experiences for students. Explain how the introduction of this phenomenon helped the students engage in three-dimensional learning. Provide evidence for deep learning and student engagement when you start with phenomena. Length: 2000 words

Early Childhood Resources Review: Evaluating Science Resources

Science learning in the early years has gained renewed importance in recent years, with research pointing to young children's capacity to develop conceptual abilities. A natural outgrowth is attention to science as a topic of study in preK, Head Start, and child care programs. Practitioners, often with little background in science, are wondering what young children can learn about science and how best to teach them. To help answer these questions, Science & Children has launched this column that provides reviews of some of the best resources designed specifically for teaching science to young children. Reviewers select resources that present relevant and appropriate science content and describe inquiry-based approaches to engaging young children in the practices of science and engineering, as described in the Next Generation Science Standards. For specific resource review criteria, more information concerning providing a review for publication consideration, or to suggest a review be provided for a specific resource, contact column editor Kelly Russell at krussell@bsc.edu.

Cross-Curricular Connections: Integrated, Authentic, Purposeful Classroom Experiences

“I have no time to teach science” is the resounding cry from many teachers. The frequently heard response is, “try cross-curricular integration.” With some planning, science can be integrated with current language arts and mathematics curricula to provide meaningful learning experiences that will address all subject areas and free up classroom time. 

But what does cross-curricular integration look like, and how are units and lessons developed so that they are effectively and meaningfully cross-curricular? Where can curricula integration points be found? 

For this column, we would like to explore purposeful examples of cross-curricular integration.  Share how cross-curricular integration enhances the learning opportunities for all students.  Provide authentic examples for integrating subject areas such as language arts, mathematics, social studies, and technology with science to deepen the learning experiences. Length: 2000 words

Methods and Strategies: Ideas and techniques to help your science teaching

This column provides ideas and techniques to enhance science teaching. This is S&C’s “think piece” and connects science teaching with research on teaching and learning. This is done by sharing an account of a method or strategy used in the classroom and explaining how its use is supported by research. While the presentation of the method or strategy is often content-based, the method or strategy should be applicable to other settings and other content. Length 2000 words

Engineering Encounters: Creating a classroom culture for engineering

We are seeking column submissions that present classroom-tested, novel, and engaging lessons for preK–5 students. They should include all of the components necessary for an engineering investigation to be completed and assessed, from design to implementation. Be sure to bring the voices of students and the teacher to the manuscript. In other words, focus on application of instruction that provides a peek into the classroom. We are also interested in submissions that provide background information for the teacher that will support the teacher’s ability to construct his or her own engineering lessons. This might include suggestions as to where more information can be found concerning high-quality lessons, strategies for structuring lessons, resources that support teaching and learning, and strategies for use in evaluating lessons and materials. Length: 2000 words.

Upcoming issues

  • November/December 2022 Earth’s Place in the Universe
  • January/February 2023 Energy
  • March/April 2023 NGSS Anniversary: Lessons Learned
  • May/June 2023 Environmental Science: Natural Disasters
  • July/August 2023 Inspired by Nature: Biomimicry
  • September/October 2023 Eclipses Across America
  • Nov/Dec 2023: Making Science Accessible for ALL
  • Jan/Feb 2024: Focus on the Crosscutting Concepts
  • March/April 2024: Climate Justice
  • May/June 2024: Connecting Mathematics and Science
  • July/Aug 2024: Formative Assessment
  • Sept/Oct 2024: Phenomena-driven Instruction
  • Nov/Dec 2024: Expansive Teaching Practices
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