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Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Thursday, 05 April 2012
in Mother Nature's Science

8+1= A New Way to Teach Science

“8+1” is not the name of Kate Gosselin’s new TLC reality show that will continue chronicling her life withmicroscope her eight children: a pair of twins and a set of sextuplets. “8 +1” is a concept that could change the way the Gosselin kids or any Kindergarten through 12th grade student might  leanr about science and correlating subjects.  Current methods, in which science courses are taught serially with no connection to one other, and an emphasis on fact memorization (to pass standardized tests) don’t seem to be working.

A statistic presented in 2009 by the National Assessment of Educational Progress is startling: “only 34 percent of fourth-graders and 21 percent of 12th-graders were proficient in their science knowledge.” That’s less than half of fourth graders and let’s acknowledge that science is still a whole lot of fun at the elementary school level: field trips, assemblies, and snacks. Sadly, the percentage drops even more at the high school level. The Program for International Student Assessment ranks American students 23rd when compared to other countries for their science knowledge.

These findings and others like them have been echoed in the news, conferences, and recently at Republican presidential candidate debate: American children are falling behind especially when it comes to math and science. The fear is that today’s schoolchildren will not graduate to be tomorrow’s engineers, doctors, or biologists.  There won’t be a moon colony in Newt Gingrich’s future because there won’t be any NASA scientists to help develop the program.

A team of scientists and educators led by William Schmidt a professor of statistics and education at Michigan State University has been meeting for six years to discuss the way science is currently taught in schools and why there needs to be a “radical overhaul.” 

"Now is the time to rethink how we teach science," said Schmidt. "What we are proposing through 8+1 Science is a new way of thinking about and teaching science, not merely a new set of science standards. It supports basic concepts included in most sets of state standards currently in use and complements standards-based education reform efforts."

The eight is for eight fundamental science concepts: atoms, cells, radiation, systems-change, forces, energy, conservation of mass and energy, and variation.  These concepts act as building blocks and provide focus. As students advance they connect the concepts together into a broader understanding of science that goes beyond memorizing independent disconnected constructs. The “+ 1” refers to “the importance of inquiry: asking “Why does (fill in the blank) happen?”

What might happen if a program like 8+1 Science is rejected by schools and their governing districts? Educators would presumably explore other solutions, but what if nothing seems to work? Could we be looking at a future where Americans no longer seek jobs in the science and math fields and what does that future hold for our economy? 

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Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. Samina and her husband believe that sustainability starts in the home and try to live their lives as simply as possible without compromising comfort.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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