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When It Comes to Science, Ohio Students Are Slightly Ahead of the National Average

photo of Ellen Yezierski

Editor's note: The word "method" has been changed to process in the last paragraph for clarity. 

National science scores released last week show Ohio’s fourth- and eighth-graders are slightly ahead of the national average. To maintain and improve those numbers, Ohio educators are examining the best ways to teach science to children in the state. StateImpact Ohio’s Michelle Faust spoke to a science professor training other educators.

Ellen Yezierski is a chemistry professor at Miami University. She develops curricula to support K-12 science teachers. She says explaining scientific concepts can be uniquely challenging, such as getting high school students to understand chemical interactions at the molecular level.

“How do we help students address phenomenon on the level that they can't see? We use a lot of models and drawings and animations and things like that where they can kind of test their ideas.”

Yezierski also offers curriculum online, and says teaching science to Ohio’s children means fostering their natural curiosity.

“It's not that science is like a body of facts. It's actually a process. You know? It's a way that we go and figure things out. And so, you're helping kids understand how science works is another thing that's really important.”

She says the problem-solving skills learning through the scientific process can also translate to other academic areas.