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Beyond the Science Kit
Inquiry in Action
Edited by Jeanne Reardon, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Wendy Saul, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Heinemann / ISBN 0-435-07102-5 / 978-0-435-07102-8 / 1996 / 190 pp / paperback
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List Price: $37.15

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    This book is so filled with sound educational principles and layered with clear valid scientific concepts I had trouble putting it down.
    --NSTA Teaching Strategies
    This book is so filled with sound educational principles and layered with clear valid scientific concepts I had trouble putting it down.
    —NSTA Teaching Strategies

Does your science kit invite hard thinking? Or does it push you and your students through prescribed directions, robbing children of the opportunity to do what is most essential in science: to learn from mistakes, control an experiment more rigorously, observe and record more carefully.

The goal of Wendy Saul and Jeanne Reardon's new book is not to dispense with kits, but rather to encourage teachers and their students to see kits as a beginning to real scientific inquiry. The essays in this volume reveal how elementary teachers have turned around their teaching to make themselves and their students producers as well as consumers of science knowledge. They demonstrate that when teachers inquire into their own teaching, they are better equipped to help children with the practice of inquiry- and it is an appreciation and enjoyment of inquiry that will lead these children back to science again and again.

Beyond the Science Kit is divided into three sections. The first provides a lens through which kit programs may be scrutinized. Are they "rigorous, relevant, and real?" Jeanne Reardon asks. In Part Two, "What's Important?," five educators share their "starting places" in reconfiguring their science programs. The essays describe the values that teachers return to in evaluating their own progress as well as the programs that reflect those values. In the final section, "Making It Work," teachers describe the "nitty-gritty" of designing a classroom that celebrates scientific inquiry across the curriculum.

Table of Contents

    Section I: Inquiry into Inquiry
    1. Teacher Bones: An Introduction

    Wendy Saul
    2. It Takes More than a Kit
    Jeanne Reardon

    Section II: What's Important?
    3. The Building Blocks of Science

    Carole Roberts
    4. "There's a Squid in Mrs. Bunn's Classroom!"
    Debra Bunn
    5. The Reason for Reasoning
    Linda Davis
    6. Connections
    Barbara Caplan
    7. Working in Community
    Stephanie Terry

    Section III: Making It Work
    8. How I Really Plan

    Donna Dieckman
    9. A Year in the Life of a First-Grade Class
    Carol Flicker
    10. Consumer Testing: Children Working on Authentic Science Problems
    Jeanne Reardon
    11. Looking for Hope in All the Wrong Places
    Mary Beth Johnson
    12. Writing Eco-Mysteries
    Twig C. George
    13. The Kids' Inquiry Conference: Not Just Another Science Fair
    Barbara Bourne

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