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Intern: Many universities offer summer science and math internships for high school students — and some are paid. Check here for a comprehensive list.
Get involved: The National Science Teachers Association's Action Guide offers tip for supporting and promoting better science instruction.
By GreatSchools Staff
In these subjects, high school students examine the earth’s physical characteristics. Earth science includes the study of astronomy, the atmosphere, and geology. Expect teens to explore the classification of stars, the expansion of the universe, and the role of technology and computer modeling in shaping our understanding of the universe. Earth and space science also includes lessons on the physical structure of the earth — plate tectonics, rocks, as well as geology, fossil evidence of environmental conditions, and estimations about the age of the Earth. Earth and space science includes the movement of water on the Earth’s surface, from creeks to rivers to oceans, the manipulation of water flow, and the circulation of currents.
High-schoolers get exposure to a science topic with special relevance to current events: climate change. Students start with lessons about the atmosphere and predicting weather patterns, but parents can expect their teens to study the way human activities impact the atmosphere — and what they can do about it.
In 2005 the National Research Council issued “America’s Lab Report,” a study that found that students’ experiences in the lab were not closely connected to classroom science lessons and that the quality of those experiences was “poor for most students.”
The report found that teachers and lab manuals focus on “procedures to be followed, leaving students uncertain about what they are supposed to learn… Typical laboratory experiences rarely incorporate ongoing reflection and discussion among the teacher and students.” The report cites, among other causes, a lack of preparation and support for teachers, disparities in the quality and quantity of equipment, and a lack of agreement on the goals of the lab experience.
How do you find out where your child’s high school science instruction stands? The American Association for the Advancement of Science has developed 10 questions parents can ask regarding science instruction in their children’s school. If you find your student’s science education needs bolstering, there are many programs you can explore to help them obtain adequate experience and knowledge.
To study science is to study the world: As teenagers develop their scientific skills, it’s likely they’ll learn to ask the right questions, investigate answers, and communicate results. The scientific concepts students learn in high school can not only help them learn higher-level science but also teach them the fundamentals of creative problem-solving that will apply to all areas of their life.
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