Southwest Educational Development Laboratory

Classroom Compass
Volume 3 Number 1
Fall 1996

Eisenhower SCIMAST

The World Beyond the Classroom

National Science Education Standards,
Program Standard D

Good science programs require access to the world beyond the classroom.

District and school leaders must allocate financial support to provide opportunities for students to investigate the world outside the classroom. This may mean budgeting for trips to nearby points of interest, such as a river, archaeological site, or nature preserve; it could include contracting with local science centers, museums, zoos, and horticultural centers for visits and programs. Relationships should be developed with local businesses and industry to allow students and teachers access to people and the institutions, and students must be given access to scientists and other professionals in higher education and the medical establishment to gain access to their expertise and the laboratory settings in which they work. Communication technology has made it possible for anyone to access readily people throughout the world. This communication technology should be easily accessible to students.

Much of this standard is acknowledged as critical, even if unavailable, for students in secondary schools. It must be emphasized, however, that this standard applies to the entire science program and all students in all grades. In addition, this standard demands quality resources that often are lacking and seem unattainable in some schools or districts. Missing resources must not be an excuse for not teaching science. Many teachers and schools "make do" or improvise under difficult circumstances (e.g., crowded classrooms, time borrowed from other subjects, and materials purchased with personal funds). A science program based on the National Science Education Standards is a program constantly moving toward replacing such improvisation with necessary resources.

The above excerpt is reprinted with permission from the National Science Education Standards. Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. Courtesy of the National Academy Press, Washington, D. C.

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