Press for Learning
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding
Science is such a broad landscape that many teachers and parents can be completely stumped as to what to teach, when to teach it, and where to start. Press for Learning’s curriculum, “Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding” (BFSU) lays out lessons that address and integrate all the major areas of science and focus on building a broad framework of scientific understanding and inquiry learning skills in a logical, systematic manner.
The three volumes of BFSU present a rigorous, seamless, K-8 science curriculum; yet it can be readily adjusted to fit the interests and abilities of individual users or modified to take advantage of time of year, special events, or other opportunities. Suggestions for integrating reading and writing are included throughout.
Author, Dr. Bernard Nebel, a career scientist and teacher, centers BFSU around modern research revealing how children actually learn and retain information. Key among these principles are:
- Lessons must connect to what children see and experience, first-hand, in their everyday lives.
- Lessons must relate to, build on, and connect to one another so that understanding is developed in logical, systematic increments—a natural sequence of stepping-stones that lead to an integrated framework of understanding.
- Thinking, like learning to play the piano, is developed by continual exercise and practice, not by intermittent lessons requiring thinking.
Thus, BFSU differs significantly from what is typically found in elementary science curricula. Gone is the chore of getting kids to memorize things that seem irrelevant. All lessons in BFSU start with and build on what children observe or experience in their personal lives.
Gone is the scattering of unrelated topics that tend to be soon forgotten or confused. It is replaced by a systematic sequence of lessons, each building on, utilizing, and interconnecting with what has gone before, and gradually building a framework of understanding that the mind more readily retains.
Each lesson draws students to exercise their minds in reasoning their way from first-hand observations, through questioning and testing, to logical conclusions. In short, inquiry learning is practiced throughout.
Teaching BFSU requires no specialized training in science or teaching. Yes, drawing students to think and fit things together logically in their minds requires teaching techniques that may be new to many teachers. These techniques are described in the beginning chapters of BFSU and then their application is integrated into all lessons. Thus, novice teachers will find themselves developing these techniques in the course of presenting lessons. Moreover, they will find themselves developing a framework of scientific understanding along with their students. Specialized training in science and/or teaching is not required.
Nebel strives to keep costs minimal. Please observe that each BFSU volume covers three years and averages out to less than a dollar per lesson. Materials required for lessons are mostly items found around the house or easily purchased at grocery or office supply stores. Purchase of BFSU will not involve solicitations to buy special materials or equipment.
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Nebel’s Elementary Education: Creating a Tapestry of Learning
“Nebel’s Elementary Education: Creating a Tapestry of Learning” (NEE) gives an overview for all academic areas of elementary, K-8 education. In addition to science, it includes chapters addressing reading and writing, economics, government, character education, and math. It adheres to the same learning principles keeping lessons child-centered and building understanding in systematic, logical increments. However, it is more summary in nature; detailed lesson plans are not presented, but for the more experienced teacher or parent, they may be easily constructed from the information given. For further information, please go to the top menu, “Synopsis and Content,” and click on the sub-menu, “Nebel’s Elementary Education.” Do the same for “Reviews.”