INSTRUCTION IN THE MIDDLE AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Instruction in the Middle and Secondary Schools. By Eugene L. Chiappetta and Thomas R. Koballa. 2002
Merrill/Prentice Hall. (ISBN 0-13-019734-3). 337 pp. Paperback.
science methods textbook is in its fifth edition and has its roots as a methods
book authored by Watler A. Thurber and Alfred T. Collette, which was first
published in 1959 titled Teaching
Science in Today’s Secondary Schools.
Obviously, the present textbook has had remarkable success as a
pedagogical resource in science teaching for over 40 years.
Perhaps its major strength has been the clear expression of ideas, using
historical information and research, along with many practical suggestions on
how to teach science effectively.
first chapter of the textbook addresses the nature of science, providing the
reader with many ways to view science. The
chapter begins with the purpose of science, which is to understand, explain, and
apply knowledge that is produced by the scientific enterprise.
It then describes what scientists do in their work, which includes using
creativity, logical reasoning, empirical data, and publishing findings.
The four themes of science literacy form a powerful framework to plan,
carry out, and assess science instruction.
These ideas include: science as a way of thinking, science as a way of
investigating, science as a body of knowledge, and science and its interactions
with technology and society.
second chapter addresses the history of science education, national standards,
and innovative programs. Those
interested in a brief history of science education can find this in the chapter,
which extends from the early 1800s to the present.
The authors provide highlights from the current national reform documents
in the United States. They
summarize the major aims of Project 2061 of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science; the National Science Education Standards from the
National Research Council; and the Scope, Sequence and Coordination Project from
the National Science Teachers Association.
In addition, the chapter provides descriptions of innovative programs for
middle and high schools that can be used by teachers who wish to infuse
activities into their curricula that reflect the science education reform
third chapter focuses on key issues in science education that relate to the
nature of diverse adolescents and learners and their schools.
As history unfolds, more nations are becoming more diverse with the
influx of people from other countries. These
minority groups generally appear at the classroom door with different values and
background knowledge, which offer a big challenge for science education.
The authors provide a good discussion of factors that affect success in
science, such as equity and gender issues, cultural based deficiencies,
multicultural education, learning disabilities, and behavior disorders.
These factors cannot be ignored in the development successful of science
programs that include students from diverse backgrounds.
four focuses on learning in grades 6-12. It
places heavy emphases on cognitive approaches and strategies for teaching
science. The chapter begins with a
discussion of constructivism, with a vignette on how a science teacher is
successful in teaching students who are not interested in science, by beginning
with what the students are familiar with and then moving into a related science
topic. Attitudes and motivation are
addressed along with Piaget’s ideas of equilibration and contradictions to
stimulate thinking. Alternative
conceptions are discussed and the importance of prior knowledge.
Meaningful learning and concept mapping are presented to reinforce the
importance of helping students to make connections between what they know and
what they are expected to learn. A
section follows this on the use of analogies and models in science instruction.
and teaching science is chapter five and forms a very important section of the
methods book. Inquiry has been a focal point of science education in the USA for
more than 40 years. The authors
begin by comparing general inquiry with scientific inquiry, and then discussing
school-based inquiry or student inquiry. They
provide insights into the relationships between content and process in how these
conceptions relate to the student inquiry. The authors also provide the reader with many techniques and
strategies for initiating and carrying out inquiry in the science curriculum.
They point out that there are many ways to engage students in the process
of finding out, such as asking questions; using science process skills;
presenting discrepant events; participating in inductive and deductive
activities; gathering information from people, printed material, and the
Internet; engaging in problem solving; and conducting science projects.
These approaches to inquiry-based science are accompanied with examples
and vignettes that center around the classroom.
There is also a section devoted to group and cooperative learning, which
can be used to facilitate inquiry instruction.
chapter six we find suggestions on how to present lectures, lead discussions,
and conduct science demonstrations in an effective manner.
The section on science demonstrations is especially useful, because this
is a strategy that science teachers should use to good advantage.
Science demonstrations offer a way to gain and hold students’ attention
during classroom instruction and to illustrate abstract science concepts and
Science/Technology/Society (STS) chapter will help teachers to understand the
difference between science and technology.
It provides many approaches to STS instructional practices. Science,
Technology, Society has been a conspicuous emphasis in the science education
reform movement since the 1990s. In
addition, this chapter devotes a
section on the teaching of creationism and evolution in the science classroom. Creationism continues to be a controversial issue in public
school education. Frequently, there
is at least one school district in America that attempts to give creationism or
“creations science” space in the science curriculum. This methods textbook summarizes many court cases, which
indicate that science teachers are under no obligation to teach non-science
ideas, such as creationism, in the science classroom.
authors have produced a large chapter on the laboratory and field work. The contents of the chapter builds upon the inquiry chapter,
stressing that there are many ways to investigate in the laboratory and
therefore there are many types of firsthand experiences that students can engage
in to help them form scientific conceptions. Science process skill, deductive, inductive, problem solving,
and technical skill laboratories should become part of the repertoire of
effective science teachers in the middle and secondary schools. Science teachers should also prepare students for laboratory
work through pre-laboratory discussions and close down this type of activity
with thorough post-laboratory discussions.
Many examples of these different laboratory approaches as well as how
plan and conduct field work are provides.
safety has become a big issue in many states in the US.
With the push to teach more science, science teachers are advised to
provide a safe learning environment for students. The authors have produced a large chapter on safety in the
laboratory and classroom that includes discussion of issues related to liability,
animal care, chemicals, electricity, and radiation.
course computers and electronic technology are addressed.
The authors stress the use of technology in finding out about ideas,
analyzing information, composing ideas, and communicating with others.
Managing the learning environment is also a chapter in the textbook.
Beginning science teachers often experience difficulty with classroom
management and therefore need many suggestions on how to create learning
environments that support instruction and maintain student learning.
12 centers on planning and teaching science lessons.
It is essential that science teachers learn to plan lessons well.
Suggestions are provided to help teachers instruct students by engaging
them in thought provoking activities, helping them to learn important science
content. Examples of different
types of lesson plans are provided as well as a feedback and evaluation form to
critique a lesson given to peers or students.
The lesson plan chapter is followed by a chapter on unit planning.
The unit plan goes beyond one period of instruction and is a strategy
that incorporates many teaching methods and promotes long-term science inquiry.
is also a chapter on assessment with many ideas for beginning and practicing
science teachers. The assessment
methods discussed are: performance tasks, open-ended problems, inquiry oriented
investigations, concept maps, observation, interviews, journals, drawings,
portfolios, and rubrics. The
fifteenth and last chapter in the book is on professional development.
appendices may also be of interest to new and even experienced science teachers.
It contains many activities that can be used to engage and interest
students in science. There is a
section on little science puzzlers, science demonstrations, and science
through this methods book has been successful for many years, the authors might
consider revising the format and rearranging the content.
The reason for this recommendation is that there is a large need to
recruit more science teachers in the urban areas across the United States,
because of teacher turnover and the increasing number of school-age children.
Many science teachers are needed in these regions of the country to
instruct students who lack a good science background as well as basic reading
and writing skills.
authors might consider beginning the textbook with a focus on effective science
teaching and the difficulties new teachers will experience in the classroom.
Instead of starting the book with the nature of science, the authors
should focus on immediate concerns that inexperienced teachers face, such as
large classes of unmotivated students who are expected to pass standardized
tests in order to assess their competence in science.
Classroom management, planning science lessons, using a variety of
instructional strategies, and constructing tests are necessary for survival in
today’s classrooms. These teachers need to know how to deal with diversity,
engage all students in learning science, and at the same time improve reading
and writing skills. New teachers
have an enormous challenge in meeting the needs of students for whom matters
outside of school take precedent over learning science in school.