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Standards

The standards in both science and mathematics encourage connecting school work with experiences outside the classroom. The 1999 SCIMAST Winter Meeting emphasized science concepts more than mathematical. Mathematics, however, could have been the focus of the experience: The measurements of the beach could have been taken back to a classroom for comparison and charting. Creatures and plants sampled from the water could have been weighed and measured and these measurements could have been used to develop theories about the conditions in various parts of the ecosystem.

The following excerpts show how the standards connect classroom and field experiences.

National Research Council (1996). National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

p. 43
Teaching Standard D: Teachers of science design and manage learning environments that provide students with the time, space, and resources needed for learning science. In doing this teachers...identify and use resources outside the school.

Time, space, and materials are critical components of an effective science learning environment that promotes sustained inquiry and understanding. Creating an adequate environment for science teaching is a shared responsibility. Teachers lead the way in the design and use of resources, but school administrators, students, parents, and community members must meet their responsibility to ensure that the resources are available to be used.... appropriate use of scientific institutions and resources in the local community requires the participation of the school and those institutions and individuals.

p. 45
The classroom is a limited environment. The school science program must extend beyond the walls of the school to the resources of the community. Our nation's communities have many specialists, including those in transportation, health-care delivery, communications, computer technologies, music, art, cooking, mechanics, and many other fields that have scientific aspects. Specialists often are available as resources for classes and for individual students. Many communities have access to science centers and museums, as well as to the science communities in higher education, national laboratories, and industry; these can contribute greatly to the understanding of science and encourage students to further their interests outside of school. In addition, the physical environment in and around the school can be used as a living laboratory for the study of natural phenomena. Whether the school is located in a densely populated urban area, a sprawling suburb, a small town, or a rural area, the environment can and should be used as a resource for science study. Working with others in their school and with the community, teachers build these resources into their work with students.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1989). Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics. Reston, VA: NCTM.

p. 84
In grades 5-8, the mathematics curriculum should include the investigation of mathematical connections so that students can...apply mathematical thinking and modeling to solve problems that arise in other disciplines, such as art, music, psychology, science, and business; value the role of mathematics in our culture and society.

Students should have many opportunities to observe the interaction of mathematics with other school subjects and with everyday society. To accomplish this, mathematics teachers must seek and gain the active participa-tion of teachers of other disciplines in exploring mathematical ideas through problems that arise in their classes. This integration of mathematics into contexts that give its symbols and processes practical meaning is an overarching goal of all the standards....

p. 85
This persistent attention to recognizing and drawing connections among topics will instill in students an expectation that the ideas they learn are useful in solving other problems and exploring other mathematical concepts.... Curriculum materials can foster an attitude in students that will encourage them to look for connections, but teachers must also look for opportunities to help students make mathematical connections.

p. 86
"Connected" mathematics should not be disconnected from students' daily lives....As students in grades 5-8 become aware of the world around them, probability and statistics become increasingly important connections between the real world and the mathematics classroom. Weather forecasting, scientific experiments, advertising claims, chance events, and economic trends are but a few of the areas in which students can investigate the role of mathematics in our society. Statistics offer students insights into problems of social equity. Perspective, proportion, and the golden ratio are ways of learning mathematics in the context of art and design. Whatever the context, a vital role of mathematics education is to instill in students an attitude of inquiry and investigation and a sensitivity to the many interrelationships between formal mathematics and the real world.

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