Summer 2012 Issue
We are pleased to announce the Summer 2012 issue of Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal.
Vance High and James Rye at West Virginia University have contributed a research article titled "Engaging within Time Limits: An Integrated Approach for Elementary Science." This article describes a creative approach to teaching inquiry-based environmental science in elementary school by linking it to children's literature. Using this linkage strategy, the authors measured positive changes in the attitudes of pre-service elementary school teachers towards teaching science.
The four project reports in this issue present a diversity of topics, including quantitative reasoning, bacteriology, and ecology. A team of educators — Abour Cherif (DeVry University), Farahnaz Movahedzadeh (Harold Washington College), Linda Michel (DeVry University Online) and Nancy Marthakis (Purdue University North Central) — use interesting discoveries about our body's bacterial neighbors to promote active learning in biology classes. Marina Dedlovskaya and Patricia Sokolski, both from LaGuardia Community College, explain the benefits of integrating a reflective component into a quantitative reasoning course, which included civic topics such as recycling and calculating a personal ecological footprint. Mark Fink, M. Leigh Lunsford, Suzanne M. Donnelly, Melissa C. Rhoten, Kelsey N. Scheitlin, and Alix D. Dowling Fink, all at Longwood University in Virginia, use the Chesapeake Bay, North America's largest estuary system, as a meaningful location for active learning and civic engagement. Finally, David Green at Florida Gulf Coast University shows how integrating emerging technologies into two non-majors ecology courses can stimulate students' creativity while providing valuable interactive resources for local communities.
We wish to express our gratitude to all the authors who have shared their interesting research and educational projects with the readers of this journal.
Trace Jordan and Eliza Reilly
Co-editors in chief
How Well Do You Know Your Closest Neighbors? Activity for Promoting Active Learning in Biology Classes
A number of organizations including the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR), the Council of College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS), the Association of Schools of Public Health, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities have affirmed that "an understanding of [individual and] public health is a critical component of good citizenship and a prerequisite for taking responsibility for building healthy societies" (AAC&U 2011). It is important because humans live with disease-causing microorganisms all around them. More
"I think that this class is a class of the future and the way it is presented helps students of today's generation learn in a more convenient and realistic way."
- anonymous student feedback
An urbanized world with an exponentially-growing human population that has surpassed 7 billion inhabitants creates challenges for educating today's general education non-science majors about environmental issues, largely due to their lack of connections with the natural world and their common reluctance for science. Additionally, today's learner expects a different learning environment and has new tools available that can be used to enhance the academic experience, both in and out of the classroom (McGee and Diaz 2007). More
Full Immersion: The Chesapeake Bay Watershed as an Environment for Learning Science in a Civic Context
The Bay as a Rich Context for Learning
The Chesapeake Bay, North America's largest estuary system, is a case study in the connections between science and civic engagement, the power of science to provide key insights into challenging issues, and the limitations of science to effect change in contested civic spheres. The Bay's watershed, which encompasses more than 64,000 square miles and parts of six states in the Eastern U.S., is home to more than seventeen million people whose activities within the watershed affect the quality of water in the Bay and therefore the biota that live there (Lippson and Lippson 2006). More
As teachers of Introduction to Algebra (MAT095) and Critical Thinking (HUP102) at LaGuardia Community College, we are well aware of our students' need to improve critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills. With the goal of improving these skills, we paired our courses into a single learning community with a focus on the environment. More
With the continued restraints on elementary level science instruction due to accreditation and assessment requirements, science curricula needs to be flexible while still emphasizing high quality 21st Century learning (Center for Educational Policy, 2008). Such curricula needs to accommodate instruction from other disciplines and target skills, principles, and standards that are shared with science; inquiry and related process skills should be high priority (Henderson, Hatheway, Gardiner, & Zarlengo, 2006; National Council of Teachers of English, 1996; National Council on Teachers of Mathematics, 2000; National Research Council [NRC], 1996). More
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