A truism often heard in teaching is that if you have not learned, I have not taught. A reasonable conclusion then is that the importance of instructional materials in teaching and learning integrated science is most effectively illustrated through student achievement results.
Principles of Learning
The Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) asserts that students come to the science classroom with many misconceptions to correct for proper scientific learning to progress. Schools should base instructional materials on fundamental scientific concepts and principles, which serve to align students' understanding with current knowledge and teach them to monitor and control their own thought processes to facilitate learning.
When integrating science with other content matter, the teacher should give careful attention to designing “a logical and coherent structure" for ensuring that they clearly communicate and ensure contextual understanding of embedded scientific concepts, as recommended by the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD).
The LBUSD recommends the use of hands-on science activities. The BSCS advocates group work and inquiry-based activities. Such explorations encourage students to engage in science, which promotes problem-solving thought patterns and corrects students’ mistaken notions of science and the world.
Teachers who take the time to provide instructional materials and options that take into account the different ways students receive and express knowledge, are more likely to see their students succeed. Science classrooms should provide a variety of audio, visual and print input methods depending on student need; allow students the flexibility to communicate their knowledge in ways that displays their true learning.
According to BSCS, students of teachers who most closely followed their 5E instructional model--engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate--achieved a high rate of success. Taylor, Scotter and Coulson conclude, "that there is a statistical link between superior student achievement and basic or extensive use of strategies and learning sequences consistent with the 5Es."
- Science Educator: Bridging Research on Learning and Student Achievment: The Role of Instructional Materials: Fall 2007: Joseph A. Taylor, Pamela Van Scotter and Doug Coulson
- Long Beach Unified School District: Criteria for Evaluating Instructional Materials in Science, Kindergarten Through Grade Eight
- laboratory image by Alhazm Salemi from Fotolia.com