-Prakash Kumar Sah
Society has struggled to meet the needs of the workplace by preparing students with the prerequisite skills for the practical application of science and technology. Encouraged new interest in science reform, eventually resulting in the Science Education Standards. In general, the Standards represent a agreement concerning needed improvements in science education related to scientific literacy, in particular, the use of scientific information in the workplace as well as everyday situations. The goals of the reform effort are familiar to most science educators: science for all persons, teaching for understanding and application of processes, adopting a broader approach to curriculum and an integrated approach to the improvement of science education. In addition to classroom teachers, science achievement and systemic change are focal points in a wide range of related areas such as policymaking, subject matter specialization, and assessment, as well as in industry, where there is concern about the future of scientific innovation and advancement.
This is not necessarily the case. Students must not only participate in activities that are “hands-on,” but activities and laboratory experiences must be inquiry-based, requiring stu- dents to be mentally engaged in the processes of reasoning and thinking. In addition, a contributing factor for success in achieving systemic change is the development of supporting relationships. Such relationships include those formed with local universities and the scientific community. So that students may find a match between potentials and curricula, leading to insight and creativity. High achieving and gifted students thrive in an environment where the parameters of learning extend beyond the confines of the classroom. Agricultural Experimental Station as well as in the field, gathering and analyzing data as part of three successive research projects. The study reviews the impact of their participation on their college and career choices as well as their understanding of science methodology, genetics, agricultural science, and product development.
An educational perspective, the collaborative research project was initially intended to provide students with an authentic research experience, allowing them to participate in science experimentation in which the outcomes were unknown. Specifically, the intent of the teacher was to provide a practical application experience enhancing the genetics content taught in the classroom. This “doing” approach to science supports the science reforms and allows for a shoulder-to- shoulder collaborative teaming of science professionals, students, and teachers. Such an approach may be the best to achieve scientific literacy.
Although this study involved a small number of high achieving high school students, preliminary indications are that such an experience is one way to support science reform, and in turn, address the Science Education Standards. Selection of a career in the general sciences may be related to authentic science research, although participation may not encourage students to specifically select careers in a particular field of science. Participants did, however gain a better understanding of agricultural science and product development. Authentic research experiences provide high achieving students the opportunity for inquiry-based application of science concepts that serve to enhance scientific literacy. In addition, forming collaborative relationships with science professionals positively affects the confidence of students and may also help them to set and achieve college admission and subsequent research goals.