A growing conversation has emerged among professionals in the science community about the need to adopt alternatives to traditional science teaching methods. One of the more recent trends in science curriculum development has been the use of contexts and applications of science as a means of enhancing scientific understanding. This is often described as adopting a context-based approach, which can help motivate students and make them feel more positive about science by helping them see the importance of what they are studying. If students are more interested and motivated by the experiences embedded in their lessons, their increased engagement may result in improved learning.
An emerging model supporting knowledge integration can be found among those in the science community who argue for coherent science education. In doing so, they promote a movement beyond standards to a more systematic approach to science instruction that makes explicit the connections between scientific concepts and principles through the use of real-world problems and inquiry-based projects.
The Science-in-CTE study is seeking to test a curriculum integration model that enhances the science embedded in CTE curricula. The Math-in-CTE study, from which Science-in-CTE was adapted, provided compelling evidence that enhancing the math that naturally occurs in CTE curricula can improve students’ math skills. Using a mixed-methods, group-randomized trial design, the Science-in-CTE study has adapted the Math-in-CTE model for the integration of science concepts and principles with agricultural and health science curricula. If this model generates significant improvement of student science achievement, it would hold the same potential for national impact as the Math-in-CTE model. Results of the study will be released in the summer of 2012.
Learn more about Science-in-CTE by reading the project overview or our most recent report on curriculum integration, Capitalizing on Context.