A Proposition for Change in the Elementary School Curriculum: Chemical Education in the Intermediate Elementary Grades

Publication Year



elementary school, curriculum, chemical education, elementary school grade levels, science class, chemistry


Chemistry | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Elementary Education | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Science and Mathematics Education


During the past academic year, September 1971 through May 1972, my colleague, Gary Marston, and I have been engaged in the process of developing a curriculum for upper grade science in the elementary school. Toward this end we have taught chemistry to fifth graders, written a textbook, and are now in the process of testing our curriculum and text on a random sample of fourth, fifth, and sixth grade elementary school children. Our reasons for attempting this project are twofold. The first reason stems from the fact that while in college we were appalled to see how many of our fellow students knew little or nothing about science in general. More specifically, we were shocked to see how many students lacked all knowledge of chemistry. These shortcomings, we thought, were in part, the fault of non-existent, or inadequate science training in their early years. The second reason is that we consider that science program now in use in California elementary schools to be inadequate. As far as we can ascertain, this is due to two major factors. First, most teachers who are now teaching elementary school do not have a science background, and are hesitant to teach science. Second, the state text now in use, Concepts in Science, does not provide a sufficient amount of basic science information. In an attempt to substantiate the preceding claim we present the following argument with regard to the usefulness of the chemistry unit of Concepts in Science, versus the usefulness of our book as a unit dealing with chemistry. It is not our contention that the state text is useless, but rather we feel the state text has not gone into enough detail with regard to the everyday phenomena discussed.

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