Resource Image Making Science Relevant

by: Charles Eick, Bill Deutsch, Jennifer Fuller, and Fletcher Scott
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Type of Resource: Journal Article
Average Rating: Rating
 based on 2 reviews
Publication Title: The Science Teacher
Publication Date: 4/1/2008
Grade Level: High School


By connecting science learning to important societal issues, teachers can motivate students to both enjoy and engage in relevant science (Bennet, Lubben, and Hogarth 2007). To develop that connection, teachers can help students take an active role in authentic community-based science that goes beyond merely learning about the science behind the issues. This article describes an approach to relevancy through an inquiry-based project that connects high school biology, chemistry, and environmental science curriculum to the local environment and the issue of water conservation and protection.

Ideas For Use


Additional Info

Science Discipline: (mouse over for full classification)
Water cycle
Analyzing data
Collecting data
Interpreting data
Science and technological challenges in society
Intended User Role:Curriculum Supervisor, High-School Educator, Teacher
Educational Issues:Assessment of students, Classroom management, Community involvement, Curriculum, Educational research, Inquiry learning, Instructional materials, Teacher preparation, Teaching strategies


Resource Format:
Size: KB
Installation Remarks:

National Standards Correlation

This resource has 12 correlations with the National Standards.  

This resource has 12 correlations with the National Standards.  

  • Life Science
    • Diversity and adaptations of organisms
      • Millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms are alive today. (5-8)
    • Interdependence of organisms
      • Human destruction of habitats through direct harvesting, pollution, atmospheric changes, and other factors is threatening current global stability, and if not addressed, ecosystems will be irreversibly affected. (9-12)
    • Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
      • Living systems require a continuous input of energy to maintain their chemical and physical organizations. With death, and the cessation of energy input, living systems rapidly disintegrate. (9-12)
  • Earth Science
    • Structure of the earth system
      • Water, which covers the majority of the earth's surface, circulates through the crust, oceans, and atmosphere in what is known as the "water cycle." (5-8)
  • Science as Inquiry
    • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • Use data to construct a reasonable explanation.
      • Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
    • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting).
      • Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world (scientific knowledge). Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations. (K-4)
  • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    • Environmental quality
      • Natural ecosystems provide an array of basic processes that affect humans. (9-12)
    • Sci and Tech in local, natl, and global challenges
      • The influence of humans on other organisms occurs through pollution--which changes the chemical composition of air, soil, and water. (9-12)
  • Teaching Standards
    • Teachers of science guide and facilitate learning. In doing this, teachers
      • Encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry, as well as the curiosity, openness to new ideas and data, and skepticism that characterize science.
    • Teachers provide students with the time, space, and resources needed to learn science.
      • Identify and use resources outside the school.

State Standards Correlation

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User Reviews

Making Science Relevant
  Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA) on April 25, 2011
  One of my biggest challenges as a science teacher is making content relevant to my students. This article outlines a water monitoring program in Alabama that demonstrates the relevancy of the watershed to high school students. I really like how this activity engages students in environmental stewardship as they learn. I look forward to creating a program similar to this in my local area!

Connections between science and societal issues
  jaynie on April 8, 2009
  This article made a connection between water-monitoring programs and high school, even some middle and elementary school science. It took the basic concepts of the water cycle and included more complex examinations of Chemical and Biological testing. As an assessment students could involve the local media as to their results, including more of the community. It focused on what is being done in Alabama, Georgia and Florida with details and names to start a new project in a school that is near by and gave ideas to start projects in other states. The main idea of the article is to find something that is going on in the community and tie it to science. Water quality is a very real concern in places in the United States. By being able to show the students what they are learning in the classroom moves on to the real world builds connections that students will be able to use once they leave the classroom.