Teachers explore new science standards

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Several Decatur-area teachers gathered at ADM’s James R. Randall Research Center Thursday for a workshop on applying new science education standards.

The standards, known as the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), call for students to be given a more active role in their own science education, explained workshop presenter Karen Lindebrekke.

“Kids are naturally curious early on, and then people impart knowledge to them, whether they ask to learn or not,” Lindebrekke explained. “Instead, we’re going to be shifting it, such that students are going to be asking the questions and teachers are going to be able to set up a phenomenon or a problem such that the students are then developing those questions, and they’re helping to drive their own learning.”

The workshop, the first of several in 2016, was sponsored by the Education Coalition of Macon County and ADM and was provided through the iBIO Institute’s EDUCATE Center, which provides programs on science and math education.

Several teachers who attended the workshop said the new standards are an improvement over older state standards.

“My first year, I had to use the (old) Illinois State Standards; didn’t like them, didn’t like the way they were structured,” said teacher Ashley Keeling. “Now using these, it’s allowing me to expand what I’m doing.”

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