March - April 2020: Science Across the Elementary Grades and Why It’s so Important

This month we will explore how often elementary science is over-looked for math and reading, and the potential impact on equity of instruction. Potential strategies to improve instruction, including the integration of science with ELA and mathematics will be examined. Read the Resources, View the Videos, Attend the Webinar! View Synthesis Brief

Theme's playlist

Expert Panel

Science Across the Elementary Grades and Why It’s so Important

MAR 17, 2020 at 03:30PM (Eastern Time)

In this webinar, we will explore the many ways that students benefit from high-quality science learning experiences across the elementary grades. We’ll also look at how missing out on science sets students back, and how to improve classroom experiences in this regard. Drawing on the expertise of teachers and researchers who presented their work in the STEM for All Video Showcase, we will examine strategies for increasing science teaching in elementary school.

View Recording & Bios


The Discussion related to Science Across the Elementary Grades and Why It’s so Important is now live! Introduce yourself and let us know your interest in exploring this theme. This discussion will continue into April.
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: May Jadallah

    May Jadallah

    March 17, 2020 | 04:46 p.m.

    Thank you all for attending the webinar and posting comments during our discussion. What are some of the main challenges that you are facing, as teachers, in integrating science, math, and language arts?

  • Icon for: Frederic Ntirenganya

    Frederic Ntirenganya

    March 19, 2020 | 10:28 a.m.

    The challenge is that the teaching of Mathematics, Statistics and related courses is generally theory based with little practical work for the students. There is a need of practical work such us field work and use of various statistical packages to strengthen the knowledge of students towards solving real life problems. Time and resources is essential!!!

  • Icon for: May Jadallah

    May Jadallah

    March 19, 2020 | 11:52 a.m.

    Hi Frederic, I agree, there have been attempts by Rethinking Schools to encourage teachers to help students conceptualize mathematics and statistics using social justice and social studies topics. Rethinking Mathematics is a great book that offers engaging lessons for teachers to consider and try out that covers the K-12 spectrum. Students engage in first-hand experiences that allow them to realize how math and statistics can be used to understand the world around them and challenge injustice.

  • Icon for: Shannon McCloud

    Shannon McCloud

    March 18, 2020 | 10:29 a.m.

    Thank you all for listening in on our discussion. I hope my input was valuable. If you have any questions for me, I’d be happy to answer them. 

  • Icon for: Abigail Levy

    Abigail Levy

    March 18, 2020 | 02:10 p.m.

    I'll add my thanks to all who attended, and add another question to May's, that emerged from the follow-up discussion on the STEM Teacher Leader Network:

    The support of the elementary principals is critical to this discussion. Without their support, any change will be minimal as it might change in one teacher's classroom, but what about the other classrooms?

    My question to you is, what got elementary administrators to participate in your research on elementary science? Were they already committed, or did you convince them that strengthening elementary science teaching and learning was important? And if you were successful in that effort, what was the "hook"?

  • Icon for: Frederic Ntirenganya

    Frederic Ntirenganya

    March 19, 2020 | 10:30 a.m.

    Discussion Question is: What are the challenges of the department of statistics when is  not based in STEM College of the University?

  • Icon for: Abigail Levy

    Abigail Levy

    March 24, 2020 | 12:59 p.m.

    We teach the way we learned, so most K-12 teachers often have to unlearn how to teach mathematics before they can get comfortable with implementing the science and mathematical practices in ways that the new standards envision. I mentioned a study we did of the College Board's revision of their AP bio, chem, and physics courses and we found that teachers adapted more quickly to this change if they'd had experience teaching and/or learning in this model before.

    A project that might be of interest to this community is one that my colleague, Sarah Sword, is leading, Focus on Inquiry and Equity in Mathematics for Education Faculty, NSF Award #1821444. They're working with the mathematics professors who prepare mathematics teachers, so that their preparation courses are more reflective of the practices we all want mathematics teachers to implement in their classrooms. By working with the teachers of teachers, Sarah and her research team is hoping to learn why and how mathematics teacher educators shift their thinking and instructional practice to incorporate inquiry and equity into learning experiences for pre-service teachers within the context of current teacher education coursework.

    The foundation of this work is the belief that strengthening the inquiry orientation of mathematics teachers and their facility for engaging all students in the practices of science and mathematics, science and mathematics will be more accessible, relevant, and meaningful to all students. This project is enacting that belief by working with the teachers of teachers.

    What do you think will inspire mathematics professors to think differently about how their discipline is taught? 



  • Icon for: Kimberly Descoteaux

    Kimberly Descoteaux

    April 6, 2020 | 06:56 p.m.

    Twitter Chat Follow On Discussion

    Couldn't make the live Twitter Chat event? Here is a pdf of the chat that took place on March 31st.


Related Resources

Author(s): Sarama, J., Clements, D., Nielsen, N., Blanton, M., Romance, N., Hoover, M., Staudt, C., Baroody, A., McWayne, C., and McCulloch, C.
Publication: CADRE

Synthesizes NSF-funded research and development work that builds understanding of STEM learning for young children and professional learning for STEM educators.

Author(s): NSTA
Publication: NSTA website

Offers key principles to guide effective science learning in the elementary grades, and recommends supports for elementary science educators.

Author(s): Philip Bell

Discusses ways that school building leaders play a unique role in supporting teachers as they strive to realize the new standards’ vision for science learning.