Elementary Schools – In many private schools, suburban schools, and home schools, science is taught at the elementary school level. There are loads of nature walks, animals, plants, and attention to science as enrichment. Notice however that the focus tends to be on biology and not on physics or technology. In most cases, earth and space science are taught but not so well since it’s hard to be hands-on. The kits by FOSS and dozens of other vendors tend, in the hands of well trained teachers in orderly schools, to be very effective. But, in most public schools and with most teachers, the kits tend to get lost, used only for demos, are presented to the students not in an experimental way but as a craft project that they should do right!
I’ll discuss middle and high school science in another post but a major point is that there is a traditional emphasis on the academic side of science and on chemistry experiments and biology hands on. This is generally successful.
But, there is a weird slowness to focus on the technology and computer programming that is central to almost all scientific work in the future and which is one of the most obvious career paths. Yale, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford all require students to have studied calculus, physics, chemistry and biology but not any computer programming. There’s, in my mind, the epitome of the problem.