The digital publication of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)

Dimensions, November/December 2014—Reconstructing STEM in our Schools


November/December 2014

Countries worldwide recognize the need to cultivate a scientifically literate population and prepare a strong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce for the challenges and opportunities of the future. Many national and regional governments are therefore launching initiatives aimed at teaching STEM more effectively in schools.

In this issue, we look at how science centers on four continents are supporting or even leading the way in new STEM education initiatives. In particular, we focus on two initiatives now making waves across the United States: the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards.

This historic time marks a chance for our field to define more precisely our roles in relation to formal education. To support schools in times of change, science centers might implement a multifaceted suite of programs, or they might choose one aspect—like field trips or teacher professional development—and do it really well. When science centers play to their strengths, they can be invaluable partners for schools as they strive to prepare children for the future.


  • The Next Generation Science Standards and Informal Science Education, by David E. Evans
  • Embracing the NGSS in Science Centers, by Sharon A. Kortman
  • How Can Museums Help Teachers with the NGSS?, by Jim Short
  • Addressing the Convergence of the NGSS and the Common Core, by Vanessa Lujan and Craig Strang
  • Reaching New Heights with Whole-School Teacher Training, by Daniele Paulding Daveline, and Janina R. Johnkoski
  • Building Successful Professional Development Collaborations that Support Standards, by Sandra Ryack-Bell
  • Science Centers Support Formal Educators in Times of Change
  • Teaching STEM with Real-World Relevance in Singapore, by TM Lim
  • South African Education 20 Years into Democracy, by David Kramer
  • Bringing Science Centers to the Forefront in U.S. Education Law, by Kevin Frank
Online departments

From the CEO: “If a Tree Falls in the Woods. . .”
Q&A with Rabiah Mayas: Taking Science Beyond Lab Coats

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