News | November 13, 2018

National Science Teachers Association Advocates For High-Quality Elementary Science Education In New Position Statement


The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the world’s largest association of science educators, has issued a position statement underscoring the importance of a high-quality science education for our nation’s 30 million elementary students. The statement—focusing on students in kindergarten through 5th and 6th grade—establishes four key principles to guide effective science learning, including the need for schools to give science learning equal priority as other core subjects and strive for at least 60 minutes of science instruction a day that includes science investigations.

“Research shows that schools devote significantly less time on science learning than other subjects such as math and reading/language arts,” said NSTA President Christine Royce. “This is unacceptable. With the growing recognition that STEM education is critical to our children’s success in the workplace and as citizens, we can no longer afford to neglect science education, especially at the elementary level.”

Other key principles in the statement focus on the importance of an educational environment that supports creative and in-depth student learning; the capacity of elementary students to engage in scientific and engineering practices when given multiple and varied learning experiences; and the need to engage elementary students within the broader community of science.

The statement also calls on science education stakeholders—science educators, administrators, curriculum specialists, policymakers, and families—to support high-quality elementary science.In particular, it recommends that educators engage students in three-dimensional instruction as recommended by the Framework for K–12 Science Education; administratorsensure teachers have adequate time to engage students every day in high-quality science instruction; andthat pre-service science teachers receive specific coursework that supports three-dimensional instruction in the areas of physical science, life science, and Earth and space science, as well as engineering.

One of NSTA’s strategic goals is to improve the quality and prominence of elementary science Education and is focused on providing resources and professional learning opportunities for K–6 educators in science content and pedagogical strategies.

The statement was developed by a team of science educators and experts and adopted by the NSTA Board of Directors.

About NSTA
The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA's current membership includes approximately 50,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.

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