Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Shows Lack of National Consensus on Teaching K-12 Students about Human-Environmental Impacts

03.07.2006
The destruction caused by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and human activities such as mountaintop removal mining are powerful examples of how the environment and society are tightly interwoven. But to what extent do, or should, state science curricula in the U.S. seek to investigate or influence the nature of this interaction? That is a question new research being published in a special issue of the Journal of Geoscience Education examines by looking at the degree to which the individual state science education standards encourage study of society and the environment as interrelated systems.

What the researchers, scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a member of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, found is surprising for its lack of consensus. Across the nation, there is generally more attention paid to teaching about how human society impacts the environment than for teaching about how the environment impacts humans and society—but support for both vary widely throughout the country. Moreover, in most states there is minimal or no support in the standards for teaching about the ways in which individual actions affect the environment.


The tendency to emphasize or de-emphasize human/environment interactions in state science standards does not fall into regional clusters, nor into the familiar red-state/blue-state political pattern. Across the nation, I --> E topics get less attention in science standards than either E --> H or H --> E topics.

"I do think that K-12 students should study interactions between humans and the environment in school," said Kim Kastens, a Doherty senior research scientist at Lamont-Doherty and lead author of the study. "Their generation will have to cope with serious environmental problems, and they should understand the environmental impacts of the decisions they will be making as individuals and in their careers."

The researchers first coded each of 49 state science curriculum standards to assess if and in what manner K-12 educators are being directed by their state standards to direct students' attention and concern to issues of human interactions with the Earth. They then analyzed the standards across education divisions (elementary, middle school and high school) for mentions of the ways humans or society impacts the environment, the ways the environment impacts society or the ways individuals impact the environment.

In all but four states, the researchers found more emphasis on how people and society affect the environment than on how the environment affects people and society. In every state without exception, they found less emphasis on how individuals impact the environment than on how society as a whole impacts the environment.

The researchers did not include results for individual states in order to focus attention on national patterns emerging from the nation's 49 independent educational bodies. In particular, they found a lack of consensus over whether or not human-environmental interactions were important enough to direct that students turn their attention to such issues as water pollution or natural disasters at any point during their education.

"What our study shows is that there is no consensus at all across the nation about whether or not human-environment interactions should be part of science education," said Kastens. "In some states, it's as though you had landed in a space ship on a planet with no sentient beings or civilization. You study the air and water and rocks and plants and animals, but do not study any object or process caused by humans. In some other states, human-environment interactions are shoved into all sorts of nooks and crannies in the science standards, even when a basic science focus might be more appropriate."

Ken Kostel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>