Saturday, January 10, 2015

Progresso Needs to Learn Science,

Planning for and implementing the Next Generation Science and Standards (NGSS)  during the next eighteen months is going to be a monumental task. Unlike the Common Core standards only 26 States have agreed to sign on to implement the NGSS; Vermont is one of those States and the Vermont Agency of Education has already started holding regular meetings for those interested in getting a head start on implementing the NGSS.

Fortunately, the NGSS include a significant section on the development of children's engineering and technology skills, as they apply to science and engineering. The LEGO robotics sytems such as WEDO, Mindstorms and NXT, all of which we use in our courses at St. Mike's, will form a large part of this part of the NGSS. There's even a fledgeling robotics club at the college run by a group of students.

But the science part of the NGSS is probably the most important aspect and the piece that should be given most attention. During the next 18 months schools should be investing in professional development activities to help teachers implement the NGSS in 2016. They will need to collect materials and activity resources for each grade level as well as find time within the already busy school day to implement meaningful science activities.

So why the picture of a can of Progresso soup? Every time I see the Progresso soup commercial on TV I cringe. Anyone who has ever conducted the string-soup can telephone activity in an elementary school science classroom knows that it doesn't work unless the string is kept very taut and doesn't touch anything else. The commercial shows the string from the soup cans dangling loosely rendering it completely useless. If ever there was a need to improve science education in our culture this is a wonderful illustration of it. How come none of the hundreds of people involved in the production of this commercial didn't realize this error? 

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