By Susan Frey
A group of teachers recently spent a summer morning observing a slug dangling from its slime and pill bugs rolling up into defensive balls as part of a training session on how to teach science to California’s youngest students.
The teachers were engaged in an “open-inquiry,” or student-driven, experiment appropriate for pre-K-2 students at a three-day workshop at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Under the Next Generation Science Standards, which have been adopted by California, teachers will soon be expected to offer even the youngest students a chance to pose their own questions and develop their own experiments to find the answers.
Although the full rollout of the K-12 standards, including tests for students in grades 3 and higher, is not likely to happen before 2019, educators across the state have been attending dozens of workshops this year on how to implement them.