National K-12 science education experts contribute ideas and inspiring guidance for educators preparing to return to school and teach hands-on science during uncertain times

Leading school science supplier Carolina Biological stepped up to help K-12 school districts prepare for the highest quality remote science instruction this fall with a new series of white papers. Three of the best national K-12 science education leaders offer their expertise and ideas to help guide districts during these uncertain times. The papers are offered free to download now on Carolina’s Website. Carolina’s new three-part series helps districts think outside the box and traditional classrooms to turn students into inquiring scientists doing exciting investigations that will make science their favorite subject this fall by leveraging remote learning settings. Educators can learn tips to build their students’ hands-on experience, engagement, and excitement and create high-interest for their students during one of the most challenging back-to-school seasons ever with remote instruction.

Carolina Biological announced the publication of, “Closing the Distance in Remote Science Learning,” a three-part white paper series that examines remote science instruction in the age of COVID-19 and provides a way forward for school districts and their high school science teachers. In the first paper, readers learn the vocabulary of remote learning in the age of COVID-19. Commonly used education terms are redefined to reflect strategies for successful remote science education. Educators learn how to interpret techniques such as Teacher-Guided Instruction, Teacher-Centered Instruction, Student-Centered, and Independent Instruction for the current situation when students are six feet or several miles apart.

During the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, Kristen Dotti, a top national education consultant, was in the trenches guiding deeply affected New York teachers with professional development as they adapted familiar strategies for best practices while teaching remotely. In the first paper, educators can learn from her experiences as she defines the terms and describes how hands-on science instruction can be done.

In the second white paper, methods for effective remote hands-on science learning are addressed. Hedi Baxter Lauffer, a science education consultant and co-director of the Wisconsin Fast Plants® program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joins Dotti in examining the social-emotional learning aspects teachers need to consider during this unique time. She explores how students develop authentic laboratory skills when working remotely or individually in a classroom. She considers how to motivate students if they are pulled out of school again or need to do a lab on their own at school.

The series concludes with an analysis of the advantages of teaching to the science standards remotely, a subject rarely discussed in the teaching community. The last paper discusses whether some students thrive doing laboratory investigations remotely, while still collaborating virtually. Brett Moulding, current director of the Utah Partnership for Effective Science Teaching and Learning and award-winning educator is a major contributor in this paper.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to change class instruction,” said Brett Moulding, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Science Education and of the National Research Council committee that developed the conceptual framework for K–12 science education. “It will help teachers understand the pacing of what they’re asking the kids to do and have the kids more interested.” Moulding also described in this paper why Next Generation Science Standards1 instruction is ideally suited for our unique times and how students can benefit.

The three-part series, “Closing the Distance in Remote Science Learning,” was released in conjunction with Carolina Biological’s development of Carolina Kits 3D® FLEX, full-year high school biology and chemistry hands-on laboratory programs, that provides each student with a self-contained lab kit to perform 16 hands-on labs. Available now for purchase, the program provides seamless science instruction wherever and whenever. By giving students direct hands-on experience with phenomena, teachers can help them learn about and make sense of the real world.

“It has been a difficult spring and we want to help teachers succeed next year,” said Mark Meszaros, Carolina’s VP, Core Product Management & Innovation. “We have partnered with education experts to write these three white papers that provide a path forward and hopefully give teachers the confidence that they can return to hands-on science instruction next year, no matter the circumstances. I am also excited about our new Carolina Kits 3D® FLEX program because it provides a solution to districts seeking solutions for remote and distanced delivery of high school NGSS labs.”

Availability
Carolina Kits 3D® FLEX programs for remote learning are available now for high school biology or chemistry. Each kit includes all the supplies (>50 different lab products) for a student to perform 16 hands-on investigations. The program also includes over 120 digital resources, including instructional videos and simulations. Prices start at $125 per student. For information, visit www.Carolina.com/Flex, call 336-586-4363, or e-mail product@carolina.com. A program specialist is available to speak with education professionals about the program and how their district’s teachers can provide vigorous, hands-on, standards-based biology and chemistry labs no matter the scheduling model.

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