Education school collaborates to transform science textbooks
Transforming K-12 science textbooks
will be the focus of a new Center for Curriculum Materials in Science,
a collaborative effort that includes the U-M School of Education.
A $9.9 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation
funds the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)-led
In addition to the School of Education, the
work will be carried out in collaboration with
Northwestern University, Michigan State University,
Chicago Public Schools, Detroit Public Schools and the
Lansing School District. The hub will be at AAAS
in Washington, D.C., with the work performed at
each of the universities and adjacent school districts.
Not confined to ivory towers, the center
collaborators will work closely with their local school
district partners to connect university research and
training with the realities of the classroom.
According to Joseph Krajcik, lead investigator
at the School of Education, university faculty need
to work collaboratively with practicing teachers
to make changes that will help all students learn.
"Such partnerships help to develop materials
that teachers can use in classrooms, meet national
standards and can make a real difference in helping
students learn enduring ideas in science," he says.
The center will draw on the materials
development and teacher education expertise of the universities
to address some of the problems previously
identified by AAAS in its series of critical evaluations
of middle- and high-school science textbooks.
The center's goal is to improve science
curriculum materials, making sure they reflect sound
research on student learning and take advantage of the
most effective teaching strategies and technologies.
Another goal is to ensure that materials support
credible standards for what students should know.
A critical national role for the new center is the
development of a cadre of experts in science
curriculum materials R&D. Each university partner
will expand its graduate and postdoctoral programs
in science education to include coursework and research opportunities in the analysis, design and use
of science curriculum materials. Recruitment of
students for the new programs is underway, and interested
applicants can visit http://ScienceMaterialsCenter.org.
The new center will "foster essential research
and development aimed at helping all students
learn what they need to know to thrive in our
science-based world," says Jo Ellen Roseman, acting
director of Project 2061, the AAAS education reform
In addition to Krajcik, other members of the
team include Roseman, who will serve as director of
the Center for Curriculum Materials in Science;
George DeBoer, AAAS; Brian J. Reiser, Northwestern
University; James Gallagher, Michigan State
University; and Ron Marx, U-M.