In this era of mandated high stakes and standardized testing, teachers and schools officials find themselves struggling to meet the demands for improved student achievement. At the same time, they are also expected to teach all subjects as required by national and state curriculum standards. Because of these competing demands, science is not even taught or taught less often in order to make more room for mathematics and language arts “drill and practice” and “teaching to the test.” Anyone concerned with providing students with a well-rounded education should ask whether these drastic measures—even if they were to show improvement in achievement—justify denying children access to the unique opportunities for intellectual growth and social awareness that the effective instruction of science provides. Will these students have enough exposure to the science curriculum to prepare them to do well later in middle and high school? How is this current situation going to help ameliorate the pervasive achievement gap in science, and how is it going to motivate students to pursue science-related careers?
The authors of this book believe that instead of sacrificing the science curriculum to make more time for drill and practice in mathematics and language arts, what should be done is to connect current research on literacy and science instruction with effective pedagogy. Therefore, this volume provides fresh theoretical insights and practical applications for better understanding how science can be used as a pathway to teaching literacy, and hence, as a pathway to improving teachers’ practice and students’ learning.