2012 NSTA National Conference General Session Address

NSTA National Conference
March 29 – April 1, 2012
Indianapolis, Indiana


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Dr. Jeff Goldstein, NCESSE Center Director, is a featured speaker at the 2012 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National Conference to be held in Indianapolis March 29 – April 1, 2012.

Jeff also gave the Keynote Address at the 2011 NSTA National Conference in San Francisco to 6,000 teachers of science. His San Francisco keynote was remixed by Symphony of Science into a 3-minute music video “We’ve Got To Be That Light – A Gift To America’s Teachers” which can be viewed in the right column on this website, or at YouTube (see also the version with Spanish subtitles). Jeff wrote a Blog on the Universe post on the Keynote Address, and a post on why the music video was created.

Indianapolis Address:

The Art of Science
and the Framework for Science Education

Science is an art, and researchers are artists. Fundamental to science research is the explorer’s ability to ask questions, frame a pathway to an answer, and interpret what they find. It requires an understanding of core knowledge, which includes both core factual information and key concepts that are either discipline dependent or crosscut all disciplines of science. It also requires an artists approach to critical thinking, where finely honed skills over time allow you to see a possible pathway from question to answer through the complex noise of the universe around us. This describes a process by which we can explore. It is the application of this process by the scientist or engineer that is the art.

But this is also what science education in the classroom ought to be—immersing our children in authentic science experiences that bring to bear practices and core knowledge so they too can become artists. It will serve them well as they navigate through their world—a world where they will be called upon as citizens to make decisions on the basis of scientific understanding the affect the entire planet, and a world where 21st century jobs will require skills across STEM. It’s also the kind of classroom experience that will inspire our next generation of scientists and engineers.

Through the Framework for Science Education, we are finally, hopefully, seeing a national emphasis on science education as classroom modeling of real science, and students given the ability to be scientists and engineers.

It can no longer be about overfilling young minds with knowledge, but rather teaching them what they can do with knowledge.