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"America's Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science" icon

America's Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science

The quality of science laboratory experiences is poor for most U.S. high school students, but educators can improve these experiences by following four key principles of effective instruction, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council. The shift would make lab activities more likely to help students reach important goals of science education, including cultivating an interest in science, developing scientific reasoning skills, and mastering science subjects. The committee that wrote the report conducted a comprehensive review of research on how U.S. high school science labs affect science learning, and on the whole, available knowledge is inadequate, it said. Research gaps, including a lack of consensus on how to define these labs or their purpose, make it difficult to reach conclusions on the best approaches to laboratory teaching and learning. However, sufficient evidence shows that the nation's high school science labs generally do not follow four established principles for effective science instruction: Design science lab experiences with clear learning outcomes in mind ; Thoughtfully sequence lab experiences into science instruction ; Integrate learning science content and learning about the processes of science ; Incorporate ongoing student reflection and discussion

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