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Design and Implementation of Community Science Events and Family Learning Segments

Abstract

"The United States' economy is largely based on a workforce of citizens who are well trained in science and technology; however, with science performance scores lagging behind those of our global competitors, it has caused great concern about the economic future of the United States (NRC, 2007a; Gonzales, Williams, Jocelyn, Roey, Kastberg & Brenwald, 2008; Provasnik, Kastberg, Ferraro, Lemanski, Roey & Jenkins, 2011). Science education reform is not a new topic for the United States and the debate of how to improve science education has been discussed from the "Sputnik Challenge" in the 1950's to Project 2061: Science for all Americans (Rutherford & Ahlgren, 1989) in the 1990's and most recently in 2012 within A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas (NRC, 2011). These iterations of science education reform have called for many improvements within teacher education, professional development of current teachers and science curriculum throughout the K-12 education system. However, even after all these iterations of science education reform; science, engineering and technology are not a primary focus within early childhood education. In fact, early childhood education (PreK-3) is undervalued and consistently overlooked in its role in creating citizens who can participate in securing the economic vitality of the United States (NRC, 2007a, Pratt, 2007, Metz, 2011)."

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