New NSTA Position Statement Gives Recommendations for Making Important Transition in K-12 Science Education

A Teacher's Journey to Transition from Scientific Inquiry to 3D Teaching and Learning (Graphic: Business Wire)

ARLINGTON, Va.--()--The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has released a position statement supporting the transition in K–12 science teaching and learning based on important recommendations made by the National Research Council in its Framework for K-12 Science Education (Framework) to strengthen K–12 science education.

“Nearly two-thirds of U.S. students now live in states that have education standards influenced by the Framework and the Next Generation Science Standards,” said NSTA President David Crowther. “The position statement gives key recommendations for science educators and other education stakeholders on what is needed to make the transition to this new way of teaching.”

The first recommendation is for educators to use science and engineering practices to actively engage students in science learning. The practices—such as analyzing and interpreting data and constructing explanations and designing solutions— encourage students to investigate the natural world using science and solve meaningful problems through engineering. These practices are how science is conducted in the real world and are essential for all students.

The second recommendation is to integrate these practices with science content (called disciplinary core ideas) and broad science themes—like patterns—that cut across all the sciences. This three-dimensional instructional approach promotes teaching in a way that allows students to actively do and experience science in a deep, meaningful way, not just learn about it from a textbook or a lecture.

The third recommendation encourages educators to use phenomena to drive student learning. Phenomena are observable and repeatable events in the natural or designed world, such as static electricity or a rainbow. The goal of building knowledge in science is to develop ideas, based on evidence, that can explain and predict these events in the natural or designed world.

The statement notes the historical importance of the use of scientific inquiry in science education and how a growing body of knowledge about how students learn builds on it, supporting a shift to three-dimensional teaching.

In conjunction with the statement, NSTA has also unveiled an infographic, the third in a series on new standards to help teachers, parents, and others better understand the changes taking place in science classrooms.

NSTA provides leadership in science education by identifying the qualities and standards for good science education; these are set forth in the form of position statements, which are used to support the improvement of science education at all levels. NSTA position statements are developed by teams of science educators, scientists, and other national experts in science education, with the input of the NSTA membership. Visit NSTA to view all position statements.

About NSTA

The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence in science teaching and learning, preschool through college. NSTA’s membership includes approximately 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business representatives, and others involved in science education.


Kate Falk, 703-312-9211

Release Summary

NSTA released a position statement supporting the transition in K-12 science teaching and learning.


Kate Falk, 703-312-9211