State of the Art: Science - September 1993
Families and other concerned adults play important roles in promoting science education.
Informal science education resources also can provide a strong foundation for learning science. Like many of you, I have always enjoyed visiting zoos. As a youngster, I didn't visit zoos to learn about animals. I went simply to see animals and to have fun, but I learned about animals in spite of my nonacademic motives.
The rise in informal science education opportunities and the strong influence of the family and other adults on children's science learning has the potential to transform science learning. Families and the community can encourage children's study of science both in school and in out-of-school, informal science education activities. They can do this by supportng children in their homework, carrying out science activities at home, and participating in the growing number of informal science activities at zoos, museums, nature centers, national parks, and community organizations such as 4-H clubs. If families view science as an important subject for all students, they will more likely promote science activities for their children both in school and out of school. Often parents and other members of the community can bring their experience to enrich the curriculum.
The availability of informal science education activities for young people has increased dramatically in the last few years. They vary in format from Science By Mail, a program produced by the Boston Museum of Science, to the "Voyage of the Mimi" televised science program. Other programs help adults and children work together on science in out-of-school activities. The Family Science Program from the Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkeley encourages fun with science as a family activity. The U.S. Department of Education has published the book Helping Your Child Learn Science with many excellent opportunities to engage children in science.
[Assessment must be more closely aligned with the goals of science instruction.]