December 20th, 2012
10:23 AM ET

The science class of the (not too distant) future

By John Martin, CNN

(CNN) - Years ago, maybe years upon years ago, you probably sat in a classroom and learned how chemicals combine to form new substances. You watched your teacher write on the board, drew a few pictures and completed a worksheet. Maybe you read the textbook at home and studied images of electrons being shared and transferred to form chemical bonds.

If you step into a high school chemistry class late next year, the students might be learning the same thing. But they could be manipulating foam or paper mache models to show how bonds are made, or moving electrons around on a computer screen, testing what happens when a transfer occurs.

Science classrooms in America will begin to change next year, when 26 states are expected to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards. How those students learn will often differ from the education their parents, or even their older siblings, had.

Twenty-six states helped develop new science standards.

Whatever they're doing, they won't just be reading science translated into kid-speak by adults. They'll be making models, solving problems and getting messy, the standards developers said. They're expecting the next generation to gain an understanding of science and engineering that makes them competitive on a global scale.

“The Next Generation Science Standards… could potentially have a profound change on how we teach science,” said Gerry Wheeler, executive director of the National Science Teacher Association. “Parents need to know it’s a different kind of classroom their child's going to see.”

So exactly what will change?

Instead of just listening to a lecture, or maybe creating a model that represents a cell or an atom, students will use the models - often created on computers - to collect data or make predictions.

Their models won't be graded based on artistry, but on their knowledge of what they represent and how they go through processes. Is the sodium atom correctly constructed? What happens when electrons from that atom get close to electrons from a chlorine atom? Instead of seeing electrons bounce from one atom to the other, students will change their own dynamic models, forming the bonds themselves. Students won't be memorizing knowledge, they'll be constructing it.

The standards will integrate more technology and engineering – the T and E in STEM curriculum you've probably heard about. Science and math will still be major parts of what kids learn, but expect engineering principles to receive as much attention as the scientific method does now.

Educators and business leaders hope this will keep students interested enough to pursue science, technology, engineering and math fields in college and prepare them for the workforce.

“Not all kids get the benefit of what’s done, even at some of the outstanding schools, so I think we have a long way to go in getting our students prepared for college,” astronomer and author Jeffrey Bennett said during a conference of science educators earlier this year.

While many students in the United States aren’t ready for the science courses they’ll face in college, Bennett said, sticking with the sciences can make it easier to find a job.

“There’s a deficit in these fields," he said.

This mousetrap can crush cars - and teach physics

With the new standards, educators are hoping to standardize kids across the country. For the first time, what’s taught in a science classroom in North Carolina should look similar to what's taught in Massachusetts, Iowa or Oregon.

States are used to going it alone when developing curriculum for the classroom. They collaborated on the Common Core standards for math and reading, and again to create the new science standards. Educators weighed in on their development, along with the National Science Teachers Association and Achieve, a bipartisan nonprofit led by state governors and business leaders.

Some schools are expected to implement the standards shortly after they're released in March, while some might have to wait for state school boards or lawmakers to OK them. States that didn't weigh in on their development can adopt them, as well.

Even once the standards are OK'd, they could be a challenge to implement. New experiences for students mean teachers have to learn new techniques, and schools might need to add new equipment. The costs will vary based on the state and students, Wheeler said, but he anticipates schools will need support from public and private sources in the years ahead. The dollars are likely to add up over time: 46 states and Washington, D.C., have spent almost $4 billion to implement the Common Core standards for math and language arts, according to a Thomas Fordham Insitute study.

Teachers are preparing for long days of professional development.

Georgia teacher Alicia Moore has been in the classroom for more than 20 years and knows she'll be spending some of her summer days in the classroom training on new techniques.  Moore has been through plenty of standards revisions before, and they've gotten better every time, she said, but this change really works for students.

“I think [the students are] definitely trained in this new way of teaching,” Moore said. “They know they’re going to be involved. They know they’re not just going to be able to come in and let me give them everything.”

The National Science Teachers Associate will offer classes and webinars to help teachers make the transition, Wheeler said.

“There’s going to be a need for a lot of support for the teachers," the association director said. "It’s a new way of doing science in the classroom. Much more relevant, much more application-oriented.”

Diana Callison is in her first year teaching biology at the same South Carolina high school she graduated from four years ago. The way she learned science and the way she teaches science aren't at all the same, she said.

“There’s a lot more technology, new content, even new cutting-edge things…that weren’t around four years ago when I was there,” Callison said.

My View: What a 21st-century science classroom should look like

Vendors are already preparing supplies aligned with the new science curriculum, too.

Jeff Chirikjian, vice president of biotech education company Edvotek, said they sell kits that teach students techniques nearly identical to those used in crime labs and research facilities. The difference? Scale and price.

One kit the company sells allows students to amplify and analyze 12 DNA samples. The kit costs around $400, thousands less than a professional laboratory version that handles 96 samples.

“We made it simple, easy to use and safe, but yet it’s still real science,” Chirikjian said.

Of course, just because the classrooms operate differently doesn't mean everything will change.

"There’s a lot of work that’s been done on how to motivate kids, how to get them excited and so on," said Bennett, the astronomer, "but we forgot to tell the kids you actually have to go home and study hard.”

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soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Alice in PA

    I think this article seriously misrepresents the goals of the NGSS. The goal is not to have schools buy new expensive equipment. The goal is to have students engaged in real science practices, including analyzing data and making evidenced-based arguments that are open to peer review. Science is advanced through advances in technology, but it is the core process of science that really makes it work. The NGSS also emphasize the large causal models in the science disciplines such as energy conservation, homeostasis, the atomic model, etc. This means that experiments are done with a specific purpose, not just for fun, like the classic egg drop experiment, which, if implemented in the usual way, teaches no science or engineering. When designing nuclear reactors, engineers do not randomly guess and check or build one and see if it works. As a 20yr veteran science teacher and engineer, I agree with this NGSS emphasis. Five years from now, I do not expect all my students to be able to solve an F=ma problem in an incline with a certain coefficient of friction. However I do expect them to be able to use the fact that steady motion does not require an unbalanced force, but changing motion does. More importantly, I expect them to look for evidence in any "news" or "facts" or advertising, evaluate the claims based on some basic science principles, and to question the sources. Let's not turn these standards into a shopping list. Rather, let's use them as an opportunity for teachers to dig deep, have meaningful conversations about curriculum (because standards are not curriculum) and teach real science.

    December 22, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • asdhj

      Politically correct MORONS .... There is a fundamental amount of required knowledge that cannot be obtained by playing with models and toys.

      December 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
      • rasko41

        Perhaps, but rote memory is virtually worthless; memorization is perhaps the worst possible waste of human intellectual resource.

        December 31, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  2. OCCUPY WALLSTREET 2016 AND BEYOND!!

    Glad to see a lot of "red states" pushing for a true science curriculum.

    All is not lost.

    Now if only we could get two of the bigger red states Florida and Texas (probably won't be red for long) to follow this trend, the country can compete globally this century.

    December 22, 2012 at 5:34 am |
  3. TheRationale

    Getting kids interested in science is more than just having some state of the art neo-curriculum. A lot of it is culture. It's setting a model. It's making someone say "that's cool, I want to know how to do that, I want to be someone like that." It's giant trebuchets. It's NASA landing on the moon. It's people telling Einstein he's wrong, and him being a badas.s about it.

    Want to know how to doom our students and future scientists and engineers? Undermine the power of science. Tell them evolution is "just a theory" or that global warming is "just a phase." Tell them not to question, not to think. No school will fix a culture like that.

    Make the students want it, don't make it a requirement for graduation, whatever "it" is. Also, give unions a big kick in the behind – way too many students have to deal with unqualified, mean, or just straight dumb people who can't be fired. It's also a shame that the good teachers I've had, and I've had some great ones, have to fly the same flag when they are so much better.

    December 22, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  4. ?

    There is a book I want everyone that visits this page to read and take into consideration. It's called "The Innovators Delimma" By Clayton M. Christensen. Basically it's about beating the power curve. Having a good idea and sticking with it to push past the dominant market technologies even when they may seem better and have a oppressive market share. When SSD disks came out sure they were tiny(In total data storage capacity) compared to the massive rotating magnetic media(HDD) technology and they cost ungodly amounts more for the same storage. But they had their benefits. Shock resistant and marginally faster were their often cited traits. But people kept working at it. I just replace a same size hard drive in my netbook, other than breaking the screen it's pretty much indestructible. People get them more and more and the speed Vs. a regular HDD is incredible. The price decreased and capacity increased(even if short of mechanical disks), their benefits far exceed mechanical disks. So sometimes what it really takes is someone with the gonads to take that proverbial leap with a vision knowing that the tech may not be there in a prototype but will excel in the long run.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  5. Rob

    You cannot get around the lecture and reading format in sciences, no matter how much "education innovators" wish for it. There is a fundamental amount of required knowledge that cannot be obtained by playing with models and toys. Lab work is only meaningful after you obtained a basic understanding. If you want to motivate children and properly teach them, just hire teachers with experience in scientific fields. Too many science teachers are hired out of college having completed just a few science courses, typically non-major courses, to satisfy their certification requirements. The problem with this suggestion is that anyone with real life experience will not settle for the insanely low teaching salaries.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Alice in PA

      But you need to teach these experts to teach. Too many times we assume that experts in a field can teach automatically. I have advanced degrees in nuclear physics but that is the most difficult unit for me to teach because I need to think deeply about how my students think...thinking about the nucleus is automatic for me, but not for them. Teaching involves dissecting the knowledge and reassembling it for students. That does not necessarily mean "bringing it down" to their level. It could mean mixing it up completely. Textbooks are arranged according to the way that experts think about their topic. They are not arranged according to the way that novices or students actually learn about content.

      December 22, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Ga sci teacher

      Well said. There's a line in the article at the end that says "the students must study hard." Where and how will students learn the structure of the atom to make the models to build molcules and compounds, and how will they learn to form bonds without some lecture? I love getting my students into the labs but labs must be LEARNING experiences instead of a nice looking activity. In actuallity high school sciences should be a class plus a lab, so we can actually get the knowlege and application to the students.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Jeff in FL

      "Lab work is only meaningful after you obtained a basic understanding." This is the fundamental fallacy. In actual practice it's the other way around: the basic understanding is only meaningful after the lab work. More strategically in the context of the lab work as a prompt for curiosity. Explain it first and you kill it.

      December 27, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • rasko41

      Yeah yeah yeah, but WADR most science curriculla are long on theory and short on lab.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  6. VΞΠDΞTTΛ

    If this will actually get kids/teens interested in Science I would pay more taxes to support this kind of development in the classroom, just so long as the money "actually" goes to this kind of advancement and to hire more teachers and pay them salaries averaging at least $50,000/year so that our teachers can put more into our children's education, rather then stress over paying bills and still be able to save for retirement which most teachers current salaries just doesn't support. Teachers forced to get part-time evening/night jobs don't have the energy to take on the classroom let alone put up with the minorities children we that they have to deal with.

    Where I live teachers have to put up with students that can't read/write/speak English. Then others come from terrible families and act like maniacs in the classroom. Then the fact that the minorities have a proven intellectual disadvantage over white and asian students.

    Don't believe or don't want to believe:

    Research W.A.I.S test.

    Hispanic and black populations are far less capable of learning at the speed of white and asian populations. It is not their fault, it is genetic. The public school system is not designed to take the extra time to help these students and forces them to learn at the speed of white/Asian students and that can cause them to lose interest in education, they just assume that they are "stupid" and rebel into a culture that prides ignorance and crime.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • ChiTownArt

      Luna tic. First, you statement implies the US is at the top of the food chain. It isn't. It also presupposes white student success is completely independent of environment. It isn't. Finally, it reinforces the stereotype that Asian kids all excel in school relative to the national average. They don't.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Calling a Flag

      Whoa wait a second what about guys like me that are a part Hispanic and white but scored very high in the Visual Spatial and Auditory learning tests. Heck I don't even believe in IQ or any test for that matter as far as learning capacity goes. Experience has a far greater weight in my honest opinion. So don't be so quick to discount the supposed minorities. That's a learned behavior because that's what minorities hear is true. And so they believe it. When actuality minorities, heck most people have yet to explore their full potential. Toss aside what some school crackpot psychologist(that wants to put you on pills anyway because they bought into the whole pharmaceutics cartel) or teacher says do what your best at doing, and have initiative to develop skills. Utilize natural ability and drive to get where you need to go. It is not about skin color or background, we all process the information presented to us in life differently anyway. That is what defines us as humans and makes us unique on an intellectual level.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • rasko41

      Your capital xi's are clever!

      December 31, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • rasko41

      ...okay, due credit to lambda and pi as well.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Philip Dailey

      The "A" in WAIS stands for adults. So the results are from people who have been destroyed because they work in a system that does not allow anyone to fail. Even those who want to fail. All genome studies show that there is zero difference between the various races of humans.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  7. ChiTownArt

    Hate to be the pessimist/cynic, but after spending 30 years in a technical industry, I know this...

    1. Senior management respects conformity, not innovation.
    2. Research is a dirty word. If you are not a profit center, your budgets are cut. Very small percentages of annual budgets are allocated for research.
    3. Technical infrastructures change after all usefulness has been bled from it, or your business partners tell you they are no longer supporting the equipment in your environment.
    4. Internal training went the way of the dinosaurs and got cut, just like profit sharing and 100% healthcare coverage.
    5. Schools are about 6 years ahead of industry, though company PR and HR will tell you that they have challenges filling requisitions because we are not producing qualified candidates. That's corporate speak for we can't find people that can pass our ridiculous background checks and are willing to work for $6/hr.
    6. Just sayin IMO and I have worked for large tech firms and have been mid level management in these companies before starting my own business.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  8. Put it in the curriculum

    Put it in the curriculum

    Meanwhile as my PC is brute strengthing 33,000 256bit AES password hashes a second using it's video card... It's actually freezing in here just so I can keep my computer cool. Who cares how I feel, I want to keep those processors running at full throttle. I digress.

    I think we need to invest some in plain old computer science. I was lucky my school district integrated technology use as part of my K-12 education and made it mandatory in elementary school, Junior High, and High School. Heck they were well ahead of their time. They had a fiber run to my high school with a T-3 capacity for the school library. I used to go to the machines there because they were state of the art, and had a wicked fast internet connection. This was PUBLIC SCHOOL. Another thing they really pushed was the math and sciences. I would not be where I am today if they had not enabled those things in my past. I was surrounded by it. My parents/family had a large part to do with my interests in computers and networking as well. I don't think it was enough though. I get it and live it but If they would have taught me basic logic principles, structured and unstructured programming, electronics, basic networking, and how to work with binary, octal and base 16 number systems in a math class, I would have been much further along. The country needs geeks, set them free and give them what they need. I manage though, all I can say is not very many people get to go where I am now, and it pays well too...

    December 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Put it in the curriculum

      I am very blessed to have gotten my foot in the door and have been afforded the opportunity that I have. All I can say is thanks, and I will do my best to do good.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
      • Philip Dailey

        to do well.

        December 31, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Put it in the curriculum

      PS: The only reason I knew it was a fiber run utilizing circuit switched networks was because one day they were putting in new power poles to prepare for a new neighborhood/commecial property along the highway and broke the fiber with a backhoe. It was the night before a report was due, arg, I will never forget that. At least there was 1 Mbps coax in our neighborhood... God I was spoilt XD

      December 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
      • Put it in the curriculum

        My librarian was pretty smart and knew what was up, so I hit the encyclopedias for awhile made some copies and then caught the late bus home. It was then I realized we would become dependent on technology and the internet.

        December 21, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
      • Put it in the curriculum

        I was like well if the internet don't work than how come the printer and the catalog works. One thing lead to another and then it was a discussion of WANs and intranets.

        December 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  9. C.Fru

    As a middle school science teacher, I can tell you that I and many others have been teaching with models, problem solving, technology etc. Now it is news because the state governments are involved and many companies are standing in line waiting to make bank.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Jeff in FL

      True, and kudos to you. We also know that too many of our colleagues don't use models and problem solving so the push could help.

      December 27, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  10. ID

    I love this! Wish it was like that when I was in school.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  11. The Particle

    The Biggest Science Breakthroughs Of The Year
    The discovery of the Higgs boson confirms mainstream physics theories.
    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/sciences-2012-breakthroughs-of-the-year-2012-12?op=1#ixzz2Fhwtm7gE

    December 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  12. palintwit

    Sarah Palin University is already leading the way in all aspects of science. Just last week they discovered that if you combine baking soda with vinegar it fizzes.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • sparky

      Because Jesus made it happen!

      December 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  13. The_Mick

    "But they could be manipulating foam or paper mache models to show how bonds are made, or moving electrons around on a computer screen, testing what happens when a transfer occurs."
    This image of the future is about a generation behind. I was doing those things and more in my high school chemistry classes in 90's. Instead of foam or paper mache, most school systems have had molecular model sets since at least the 70's that use plastic and metal or wood to show how bonds hold molecules together in 3D.
    And yes, they can move electrons around on a computer screen, but there are limits to the computer there. My students were taught to look at the periodic table and instantly determine how many electrons each element wants to gain or lose when forming bonds as well as which ones are stronger and weaker, for example potassium plus sodium chloride will react to form potassium chloride plus sodium because potassium is stronger than sodium, so putting together sodium plus potassium chloride, the reverse reaction, will do nothing.
    Where computers are most useful in the class today is in labs, where most of today's high schools and colleges have pH meters, temperature probes, etc. attached through USB ports to computers so that large numbers of data, usually vs time, can later be analyzed. The same is true in physics labs where motion, voltage, current, force, etc. is read directly into the computer.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  14. Fritz Hohenheim

    And dont forget to give Creationism and proponents of the Phlogiston Theory an equal share of time, since science is not about facts but about showing all opinions, even the nutjob's ones.

    December 21, 2012 at 6:00 am |
    • Jeff in FL

      But if kids learn to look closer and actually solve problems they should become more thoughtful and better leaders (not puppets).

      December 27, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  15. SixDegrees

    Look up the Wed ge Doc ument for a look at what the fundies have planned for the science classroom and its eventual elimination altogether.

    December 21, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  16. SixDegrees

    The science classroom of the future is already being shaped by knuckle-dragging fundamentalist southern baptists, whose vision begins with forcing actual science out of the classroom and replacing it with bible studies, tainted by their own bizarre views of the bible, and it ends with the elimination of science and reason altogether, and the establishment of a national theocracy that uses the power of the state to force compliance with faith.

    December 21, 2012 at 2:49 am |
  17. Bill Hannegan

    In my high school chemistry classes we actually had chemicals. You know, things like hydrochloric acid, glycerin, whatever. Kids nowadays are so sheltered and insulated from harm I've met undergrads who don't know how to dilute acid.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Fritz Hohenheim

      Yep, true :(

      December 21, 2012 at 6:01 am |
    • xirume

      Ahh, the old Nitro experiment.... I miss those days.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  18. Nietodarwin

    There are still over %40 of the people in this country who believe the earth is only 10,000 years old and that evolution is just "one theory" of the way things happened. Religion is the enemy of education, which is to say religion is the enemy of our country. We can regain the lead we used to have in science and technology when we get rid of the influence of religion in our government and our schools.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      “Scientists do not join hands every Sunday and sing "Yes gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have faith! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down, down. Amen!" If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.”
      _ Dan Barker, Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists

      December 20, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
      • xirume

        Excellent :)

        December 21, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Ruby

      Didn't learn much about logic in school did you?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:49 am |
  19. Phd in Biochem

    Oh please cut the crap! The REAL problem is that there aren't enough jobs for scientists. Even after spending 5-10 years getting a Ph.D in life science (you are about 30 when you graduate), most people have to settle for a post-doc position that pays less than 40K. There aren’t enough biotech/pharmaceutical companies but too many scientists. Many scientists have to go oversea to find jobs with a reasonable salary that they deserve!

    December 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • ReplyGuy

      Science doesn't open the door only for medical and scientific positions. It opens the door (especially this type of application) for engineering and designer type jobs, it makes you apply the knowledge that you are learning at the same time, instead of filling out stupid papers and not applying your newly gained knowledge.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
      • PhD in Molecular Biology

        I TOTALLY AGREE WITH PHD IN BIOCHEM! After finishing my PhD, I made less per year than a first grade teacher, and I am 30 yrs old! You become too specialized where all you can do is a post doc for 38k per year, terrible benefits, and working in the lab by day and writing grants at night. I just got out of the lab to teach, better pay, better hours, and summers off.

        December 20, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      If you want to do research, start writing grant proposals. Standing around with your hand out, waiting for some company to put money in it, isn't going to work. Or, bit the bullet and take an engineering position and actually produce something.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:49 am |
  20. Charlie Avila

    I was a science teacher in Puerto Rico for 30 years+. My teaching philosophy was always, using "methacognition". The strategy that put students to think and question themselves. Lots of reading and studying is the mechanism that transforms the "brain matter into ENERGY. The energy of the knowledge. So, using Einstein equation, The mere we study and learn, the more our brain's matter is trtansformed into the energy of knowledge. So, the neurons are transformed into energy, and that energy is known as "knowledge power or energy!!!!....these were the straregies and philosophy I used to teach my students.......They solved problems and reached their own solutions by themselves. They did not need professors nor other persons to question!!!!!.......

    December 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • S.A. Wolf

      Learning is the permanent change in the receptor sites of the axon terminal, pre and post synaptic cleft. What the he11 are you talking about?

      December 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
      • ?

        Is that not energy at work? Is not the essence of life, our soul a cascading and very complex interaction of the ionic exchange of electrons from neuron to neuron? It has been proven that leaning strengthens these networks when correct and mutes the interactions that are proven to be incorrect. So the OP is correct. Learning is a form of energy at the most basic hardware level.

        December 21, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
      • ?

        I think the truth is that a combination of experience and training is needed in our school system. Mainly on the teacher side. I believe the main idea of teaching and learning is to kick the tires and light the fires. Let the students take off, give them what they need to learn the essentials and then let them find their own path through trial and error. Plant the seed and let it grow.

        December 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
      • ?

        Grant them the time required to make mistakes, but also put them back on the path when they stray too far. But never discount potential and always remember none of us have explored every possibility. No matter how hard people try to limit a training environment.

        December 21, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Barry

      Yes, self-direction is good, but in science and especially math guidance is necessary mainly because of the difficulty of the subject and misconceptions that are part of our natural thought processes. Without guidance, many students retain these misconceptions for a lifetime such as the common misconception that if you threw a ball in outer space it will eventually come to a stop on its own.

      December 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  21. bostontola

    As an engineer and a fan of science and math this would be great. China and India are focused on graduating more and more people in STEM and they are succeeding. If we don't do better, we will be second rate in 50-100 years.

    We are conflicted as a society, we love what STEM provides us, but we hate it when it is counetr to religious beliefs. We would do a lot to advance ourselves simply by separating STEM and religion.

    We have a big cultural advantage over them since we started accepting women and minorities, it will take them a while to catch up.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • John

      I too am an engineer and also a Christian. I have found nothing contradictory in the study of science and religion. In fact, I find them to be complimentary, attempting to answer two entirely different questions.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
      • allenwoll

        .
        John - Tee, Hee !
        .
        You ARE entertaining, to say the least ! ! !
        .

        December 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
      • Fritz Hohenheim

        How do you explain the stand of American christians and moslems on evolution then? Doesn't that slightly contradict scientific results?

        December 21, 2012 at 6:04 am |
  22. Francis

    There are a few comments talking about salaries not matching the amount of studying to become a SETM person. The underlying problem is that School of Management in the US and around the world becomes an elite class in organizations (not only businesses but also universities) that get paid not according to performance but according to hype. They don't necessarily understand the strengths of a company or an university and they are not emotionally attached – because they parachuted in – to the organization. They can increase the quarterly profit of the organization until it is just a shell of itself. So the STEM folks have to be bold enough to stand up and become managers – taking training along the way, and let's change the management culture in the world!

    December 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • ?

      Well in that case I believe that people that configure the BGP/backbone routers, build meet me rooms(Internet Exchange Points Aka. IXPs), set up the SDH/SONET the underlying circuit switch technologies, and the people that launch satellites and put the ground stations in place to connect continents should get paid more should be able to do so. But the truth is, management sucks, and not everyone is willing to deal with the political crap that is management. Even though the people that run the internet make the world spin, and can even verify it with atomic clocks and sensors, they just don't get the pay because they are not seen. I think it's time to change that. Make computer equipment cheaper and pay the people that engineer it more. The tip of the spear, the CEO that has little to do with the technical details of a product is getting the lion-share of the pay and not the true innovators and doers. That's the problem...

      December 21, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
      • ?

        I whole heartedly believe in utilitarianism. Footballplayer, meh. The guy that handles the satellite link to ESPN or the guy that manages the circuit breakers in the stadium, or the guy that sets up the extra cell phone towers, or stage equipment for the Superbowl, those are the people that really make it happen. Same with scientists, how many of us know who invented plastic, or metal alloys, the transistor, or glass, what about rubber, binary, architecture that's safe, the CCD imager used in cameras, the steam engine, jet power, all that crap. A lot of the originals never got credit, never got paid, aren't even known but yet we put people that entertain us that live in this world of technology on a pedestal and never give credit to those that really made life happen.

        December 21, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
      • ?

        Pay the scientists that really made it happen and came up with the original ideas, not guys like Bill Gates that stole the GUI from Apple to make Windows 1.0, the big bucks.

        December 22, 2012 at 12:00 am |
      • ?

        Before that though Xerox was the true innovator. Never forget the Xerox Star, that brought many elements of the SOHO integrated service delivery network into the mainstream. Bill gates even bought a setup.

        December 22, 2012 at 12:04 am |
      • ?

        Forgot to mention MPLS and LTE/WiMAX..

        December 22, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  23. Wraith

    This article is, obviously, speculation: If certain people have their way, there aren't *nearly* enough bibles in this future model...

    December 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • humtake

      I'm not religious but anyone can understand why religion is important. Prior to the scientific revolution, aqueducts were created in Rome that are still used today that transport water from far away...clean, pure water. They can't even reproduce that today. So if you are saying that religion, which controlled the wonders of the world when they were built, is not akin to science, then you are biased and hold no regard for the accomplishments of either.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
      • xirume

        Now, that's utterly idiotic.

        December 21, 2012 at 9:10 am |
      • jMawl

        Yeah, we couldn't reproduce aqueducts if we wanted to...sure. The USA doesn't have aqueducts, and we are doing just fine with regard to availability of clean water. The Romans were so far behind. They didn't realize that the water they wanted was just a few hundred feet below the surface of the earth. All they knew how to do was transport "visible" water from place to place. Idiots.

        December 21, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • John

      Your comment is asinine. It seems that you have some chip on your shoulder simply because you do not share someone elses's belief's.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  24. Jami

    As a science teacher in Florida, we aren't on that map, but every science teacher I have worked with have been doing this type of science for years now. I guess the good teaching methods only make news when someone says it was their idea.

    December 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Derangedcowbrain

      I've taught science like this since 1998, but I've known only a few who put as much into it as I did.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  25. Joe K

    Having spent 19+ years in R&D and Manufacturing Engineering, I sincerely applaud the effort to get more young people involved in SETM. We (the USA & industry) need all the help we can muster. However; I'm also a bit jaded. I made a decent living & I don't expect to live in the lap of luxury; but for all the advanced schooling, I feel that salaries should be higher. The "C Suite" gets their mega-salary, Sales gets their commission; the Engineer actually desgins and builds the product & the Scientist is developing "tomorrow's" technical know-how (technology). I'm happy to be done as an Engineer,, now a Project Manager, the money is better and more room to advance.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • FKell

      I was about to post something very similar. If there really was a lack of "STEMs" in the industry, the salaries would be rising, not failing to keep pace with inflation, because the rule of supply and demand would have taken over.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  26. Nick Naranja

    Once again, Florida and Texas are lagging behind in science. Was there something in the standards about the Earth being more than 5000 years old or perhaps something about fossils?

    December 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Paul from Texas

      I taught Biology for 34 years before I retired. I retired in 2000. Many biology teachers have been using models for teaching the chemistry of life for 10 or 15 years before I retired. The students would make DNA molecules out of paper to understand how cells reproduce, how DNA is transferred from parents and recombined into new sequences. Now with new technologies, many teachers in Texas and in Florida are doing just what the article describes. They have done this on their own and get no fanfare because they do this for the kids, not the glory.,

      December 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  27. smcnurlan

    Reblogged this on S. McNurlan.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  28. Kirk

    Because dumb kids are easier to control, and manipulte

    December 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  29. cnnlicksit

    And yet with all the "advancements" in computers and technology the kids are getting dumber with each generation. Idiocracy?

    December 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  30. Julie

    Glad to see this. In the real world this is what science is – getting down and dirty and learning.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  31. Johan S

    If its the future, can't they plant a chip that will just wire up the brain's neurons so that they have science knowledge and ability?

    December 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • SEN 5241

      Perhaps the future will be like George Lucas portrayed in "TXH 1138":
      "You know, when I was at school, it was all very different. Combined primary economics was a bottle about this big."

      December 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
      • SEN 5241

        Typo...should have been "THX 1138"...

        December 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
      • S.A. Wolf

        Brilliant story.

        December 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • S.A. Wolf

      Yes, but we will still need those who create NEW knowledge to advance the species. Some Sci Fi has been written about your statement. Those with inferior ,"Chips", were at a distinct disadvantage, and the Protagonist , could not be fitted with a chip. He thought he was retarded, and considered so by his friends, but it turned out that when he was tested he was found to be one of those that would create New knowledge the old fashion way, by thinking, researching, and empiricism, without the wetware .

      December 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  32. Visa

    Glad to see Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia be part of this.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm |