Spreading Science Across the DisciplinesPosted: September 27, 2011
Eager to raise science proficiency in Rochester, Minnesota’s public schools, a group of school administrators partnered with the Mayo Clinic, Winona State University (WSU), and other community members to form Integrated Science Education Outreach, a program that has brought teachers from all disciplines together to create a new curriculum that integrates science across disciplines. The program’s acronym, InSciEd Out, describes the partners’ goal of turning traditional science education inside out.
The InSciEd Out partners initially wanted to bring science teachers to the Mayo Clinic to conduct authentic science research and learn about current pedagogical methods. But according to Chris Pierret, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Mayo Clinic and InSciEd Out coordinator, the team began to ask, “What if we brought in more than just the science teacher [to achieve change]?” The partners realized in many current science education reform efforts in which only one science teacher or a few science teachers are trained in a new innovation, the innovation doesn’t last long, he explains.
In addition, the team believes science is not a lone subject but “is a context for learning,” says Pierret. “We didn’t need to add three hours of science to a [school] day” to enrich the science curriculum; instead, InSciEd allows “the language of science to emerge in multiple contexts throughout the day.”