Weeklong zebrafish experiment engages, excites students
- The nonprofit outreach program, Project BioEYES, gives students at all grade levels a week to study zebrafish from the embryo stage to the point where they are free-swimming larvae.
- According to eSchool News, pre- and post-tests showed widespread gains in knowledge of and attitudes about science among students, who are significantly more likely to say they know what it’s like to be a scientist at the conclusion of the program.
- Elementary school students learn about habitats, human and fish anatomy, and DNA and cells, while middle schoolers learn to identify phenotypes of fish offspring and high schoolers learn to identify the genotypes of parents.
Dissecting a frog has long been the standard animal lab in schools, but those that can afford to acquire and store live animals for an extended experiment like the one with zebrafish could be more effective at engaging students and teaching them the role of scientists. The Next Generation Science Standards emphasize giving students the chance to think and act like science professionals. This type of instruction can be more engaging for students and also more relevant to their future exploration of the field.
More than a dozen states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, replacing older standards in the same way the Common Core replaced many states’ math and English/language arts standards. In November, California became the first state to approve a new science curriculum framework based on the NGSS. The next challenge across the country will be debuting new tests aligned to the standards and related curricula.
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