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Catching Up With Science Education.

How prepared our children are to meet the challenges of the world depends, to a large extent, on the education we provide. Certain questions loom large. Will they be able to master the rapidly transforming technology controlling their daily lives? Will they find jobs that provide them with a high-quality life--economically, socially, and intellectually? How does an education system catch up to a technologically driven and dependent society?

Educators and parents, as well as students themselves, are becoming more aware of how science education is related to a nation's economic and social well-being. As we plan for the best science education possible for our students, we also can work on immediate changes in our classrooms and in the way we implement those programs to which we are currently committed. The videos reviewed in this column are especially timely and useful, in that they can help make staff development and inservice teacher training opportunities readily available in one's own school district with minimal cost. The videos also could be used to tailor proposals when seeking funding for staff development with creative teacher involvement.

Science and Technology: The Formative Years promotes the concept of classroom science in action. The series of videos, distributed by Films for the Humanity and Sciences and produced by The Ontario Television Communications Network, is an excellent starting point from which to explore the possibilities for school-based improvement of science education. Children's engagement in scientific investigation is at the heart of this series. Three of the six videos in this series are reviewed here. While the videos can stand alone, those seeking a "science refresher" experience will find the series well worth the attention and consideration.

The Inquiry Process presents two lively elementary (1st-grade and 6th-grade) classrooms in Ontario, Canada. This film captures the process of methodically solving problems. The children observe a snail, ask questions, make predictions, and communicate with each other on their findings. The children's creativity is abundant as they become more involved in their investigations. The use of group work with this class provides an excellent model for engagement in the inquiry process, helping teachers view the organization of work, as well as teacher and student responsibilities in the process of learning.

Extension: This is an excellent film for on-site staff development for elementary school teachers, or for group or individual teacher self-study related to both science education and to the process of learning. Allow 30 minutes for viewing, 35 minutes for discussion, and 30 minutes for reconstruction; this video can stand alone, or can be further developed into an ongoing investigation of creative science teaching. A must for all, from the preservice to the veteran teacher.

Produced by Films for Humanities & Sciences. Sale: $149.00. Rental: $75.00. Released April 2000. Running Time: 26 minutes. P.O. Box 2053, Princeton, NJ 08543-2053.

Science and Literature is an exceptional and refreshing film. In a wonderfully relaxed conversation, a Toronto book store owner relates science to contemporary children's books in such a way that everyone will be running to their local library immediately after watching this film. Classroom involvement is also examined in a detailed segment related to the teacher's use of the work of Ezra Jack Keats (e.g., Snowy Day, nature; Peter's Chair, physics; Jennie's Hat, birds, nature, etc.) in science learning and investigation. The wealth of trade books presented is awesome: The Empty Pot (plants); Linnea in Monet's Garden (plants, flowers, light, color); Thunder Cake (weather, cooking); Where the Forest Meets the Sea (the scientific method); and Joyful Noise (insects). It is suitable for younger and older children. The inclusion of such literary material in any science program will be helpful for teachers who must account for their classroom planning and time.

Extension: This is an excellent staff development video for teachers and librarians, large or small group, or for an independent study of science or communication. You may want to plan on how to incorporate your classroom's books, in order to maximize participation. The film can be used to develop a sequence for study on science and literature, and to spur school-home activities (e.g., parent workshops in science picture books).

Produced by Films for Humanities & Sciences. Sale: $149.00. Rental: $75.00. Released January 2001. Running Time: 26 minutes. P.O. Box 2053, Princeton, NJ 08543-2053.

Child-Centered Science is the last of the six-part staff development series on Science and Technology: The Formative Years. The viewers watch a 2nd/3rd-grade classroom unit on electricity. Prompted by the question "What happens when the lights go out?," the children actively and creatively work through the scientific process--brainstorming, investigating, observing, and evaluating. The teachers' planning session for this child-centered program is equally useful, providing interesting material on students' recordkeeping and its use by the teacher. The critical importance to scientific investigations of being an informed observer reinforces this modeling of quality, organized science instruction.

Extension: This would make for a helpful staff development video, useful in modeling development, implementation, and assessment science units.

Produced by Films for Humanities & Sciences. Sale: $149.00. Rental: $75.00. Released January 2001. Running Time: 26 minutes. P.O. Box 2053, Princeton, NJ 08543-2053.

Children, Science and Common Sense takes us to Oxford, England, and places us in the company of some very interesting people. This is a jewel of a video for staff development. Elementary school-age children visiting the city's science museum are shown involved in many lively activities and interactions. Professors from Oxford University engage the children in scientific conversations. Watching the children eagerly learn the rules and laws of science makes one reevaluate how science is otherwise taught and learned. This video is well worth every teacher's time and every school's attention.

Extension: A definite video selection for science educators, classroom teachers, and curriculum developers. The use of drawings to express ideas and knowledge can be developed by viewers and used in other curriculum areas.

Produced by Films for Humanities & Sciences. Sale: $129.00. Rental: $75.00. Released July 2000. Running Time: 24 minutes. P.O. Box 2053, Princeton, NJ 08543-2053.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Association for Childhood Education International
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Video Recording Review
Date:Aug 6, 2001
Previous Article:Issues Concerning the Rights of Children.
Next Article:Learning in Nontraditional Environments: An International Perspective.

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