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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

March/April 2023: NGSS 10 Years Later—Where are we now?

Deadline June 1, 2022

The Next Generation Science Standards were released in 2013 with much excitement for K–12 science teaching and learning improvements.  

What were the goals set forth by NGSS? One is that science—and therefore science education—is central to the lives of all Americans. A high-quality science education means that students will develop an in-depth understanding of content and develop key skills—communication, collaboration, inquiry, problem-solving, and flexibility—that will serve them throughout their educational and professional lives (see nextgenscience.org).

With an emphasis on three-dimensional teaching through making sense of phenomena and solving real-world problems, the NGSS were seen as a pathway to increase student interest in STEM, build scientific literacy for all students, and level the playing field in terms of equity and access. With 20 states (and the District of Columbia) adopting NGSS and 24 others adopting standards based on the Framework, where are we on meeting the lofty goals, and what have we learned over the last 10 years?

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

  • Share a phenomenal NGSS lesson or unit of study that has transformed your thinking about teaching science. Include ideas that others can replicate.
  • Provide evidence of how implementing lessons promoting NGSS can remove or limit learning barriers and promote equity.
  • Share how students, when engaged in three-dimensional learning, can participate in meaningful discourse with their peers—similar to the work of scientists and engineers—as they make sense of phenomena or design solutions to problems.
  • Describe a lesson that promotes sensemaking by tapping into student assets of experience, culture, curiosities, and interest.  
  • Identify how NGSS has helped create transdisciplinary experiences highlighting communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking skills.
May/June 2023: Environmental Science: Natural Disasters

Deadline August 1, 2022

The news is brimming with stories about natural disasters affecting different parts of the world. Whether they are geohazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, or extreme weather-related events of flooding, drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, or even wildfires, humans have been and are affected by these events. Geohazards and extreme climate events wreak havoc where they occur, causing catastrophic impacts on people, environments, and economies—learning about how and why these events occur can be the first step in predicting and protecting fragile and vulnerable environments.

When students learn about the science behind natural disasters, emphasizing how potential impacts can be avoided, reduced, or mitigated, children can gain a sense of security and preparation, focusing on how engineers design solutions to monitor, measure, and minimize the effects of natural disasters.

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

  • Share classroom-tested ideas where students learned about a natural disaster, including predicting or preparing for potential effects.
  • Describe a three-dimensional learning experience focusing on NGSS ESS2 or ESS3.
  • Share how focusing on crosscutting concepts (e.g., cause and effect or stability and change) can help students learn about natural phenomena leading to natural disasters.
  • Provide engineering examples of student-designed solutions that reduce or mitigate natural hazards.
July/August 2023: Inspired by Nature: Biomimicry

Deadline October 1, 2022

Engineers will often look to nature for inspiration and design when solving problems. Biomimetic or biomimicry use strategies found in nature to sustainably solve problems. 

The terms biomimetics and biomimicry are derived from Greek, with “bios” meaning life and “mimesis” meaning to imitate. According to Janine Benyus, co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute, biomimicry sees nature as a model, a measure, and a mentor. Studying nature’s models can provide creative inspiration. Innovative solutions are measured by how well adapted and sustainable they are. Biomimicry helps develop an appreciation for nature as students observe and evaluate possibilities.  

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

  • Share a three-dimensional lesson focusing on designing a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs. (1-LS1-1)
  • Describe an engineering lesson inspired by biomimicry. What makes the solutions sustainable?
  • Share how students have developed their creative inspiration by observing and evaluating bio-inspired designs. Do students simply imitate the structure/process or generate original ideas?
  • Provide formative and/or summative assessments that provide information about student growth while involved in nature-inspired engineering.  

 

 

September/October 2023: Eclipses Across America

Deadline December 1, 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.

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.

Teaching 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

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

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

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

  • March/April 2022 Water in our World
  • May/June 2022 Activities and Investigations
  • July/August 2022 Fostering Scientific Literacy   
  • September/October 2022 Joyful Science
  • 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
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