Volume 2

A monograph for professionals in science, mathematics, and technology education

Thoughts, Views, and Strategies for the K-5 Classroom

Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education Directorate for Education and Human Resources National Science Foundation

About Foundations

Foundations is a monograph series published by the National Science Foundation's Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (ESIE) in conjunction with the Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication (REC) to serve those working to better science, mathematics, and technology education in this nation. Foundations supports education reform by communicating lessons that have been learned from ESIE projects and activities to others in the field who may use and adapt them to build effective educational improvement strategies in their own classrooms and communities. Like the foundation of a schoolhouse, home, or other place of learning, the strength of what is above ground depends on the structural soundness of what lies below. Foundations will unearth the strategies that enable effective educational improvement at the K­12 level to take place. Welcome to Foundations...

In This Volume

Foundations examines opportunities and challenges for those at the front line of science education in elementary and middle schools. Designed as a resource for teachers and administrators who are interested in investigating inquiry-based science education, this volume serves neither as a textbook nor as the final word on the subject. It is rather a short introduction for those beginning the complex and difficult journey of science education reform based on the experiences of educators working in the inquiry field today.


FOUNDATIONS is published by the Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education under the direction of Jane Butler Kahle, Division Director. The series is produced under contract with Westat, Inc.

This issue of FOUNDATIONS, developed under the auspices of the National Science Foundation, was compiled and created by the staff of the Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry, part of the Center for Teaching and Learning of the Exploratorium, a museum of science, art, and human perception in San Francisco, California. The Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry provides elementary science reform educators with programs for exploring, examining, and discussing the nature of inquiry. Through these shared experiences and investigations, the Institute aims to bolster elementary science reform efforts across the country.

Our sincere thanks go to all the contributors of this book, which was created by both Exploratorium staff and educational professionals from many other institutions. Their contributions made this publication possible. At the Exploratorium, Lynn Rankin, Doris Ash, and Barry Kluger-Bell collaborated in evaluating and compiling the information gathered here, with editorial assistance by Ruth Brown and project management by Bess Bendet. The Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry team worked in cooperation with Susan Snyder, Section Head, Grades K­8 Education, ESIE, National Science Foundation, in designing the purpose, outline, and content of this issue. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the official views, opinions, or policy of the National Science Foundation. For more information about elementary and secondary education, please contact:

Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education
4201 Wilson Boulevard
oom 885
Arlington, VA 22230
(703) 306-1620