BU Researcher Co-Hosts Public TV Science Series For Elementary, Middle-School Teachers

Contact: Ann Marie Menting, 617/353-2240 | amenting@bu.edu

(Boston, Mass.) — Television, like science, often makes ordinary things seem extraordinary simply by presenting them in unexpected ways. A recent example of the magic that can happen when the medium is combined with the discipline is found in the “Essential Science for Teachers: Life Science” series co-hosted by Douglas Zook, associate professor of curriculum and teaching at Boston University’s School of Education. Developed for elementary and middle-school teachers, the eight-part video series transforms complex life-science topics into teachable concepts useful to today’s educators.

The life-science series is showing through April and again in September on educational cable stations in Boston and other cities across the nation. The Essential Science series was developed with a grant from Annenberg/CPB and produced by the Science Education Department of the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Annenberg/CPB is a unit of the Annenberg Foundation and was established by a gift from media executive Walter H. Annenberg to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Tapped to serve as both co-host and consultant for the life-science series, Zook is an active innovator of both the pedagogy and curricula available to professionals teaching science to students at all levels — elementary school through college. Zook has been a member of the National Science Standards Committee of the National Academy of Sciences and, at BU, oversees the science education program at the School of Education and teaches courses required of its graduate students who are pursuing careers as science teachers.

Zook also is among a pioneering group of life-science researchers and teachers working to bring the importance of micro-life on Earth to the attention of educators and others involved in developing science curricula.

The Essential Science project is designed to help K–6 teachers gain an understanding of some of the fundamental science concepts that are part of today’s standards-based curricula. The life-science series is one of three content areas addressed in the project; others are physical science and earth and space science.

The life-science series addresses broad concepts such as classification of organisms, animal and plant life cycles, and evolution in a one-hour video format that combines real-world examples with demonstrations, animation, graphics, and interviews with scientists. Each video segment is supplemented by print and web-based materials and can be viewed online.

The Essential Science series is one of several multimedia resources that Annenberg/CPB has funded since it was set up in 1981. Annenberg/CPB aims to advance excellent teaching throughout the United States in all disciplines at levels K–12. The Annenberg Foundation exists to advance the public well-being through improved communication.

The life-science series was produced by Clive Grainger, a veteran producer who has worked with BBC-TV and in independent network television production. Zook’s co-host on the series is Linda Grisham, associate professor and director of the Science in Education Program at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.

The Science Education Program at Boston University’s School of Education is a graduate-level program that focuses on identifying concepts and skills helpful in teaching science and technology to students in kindergarten through college. The program prepares graduates to develop innovative curricula and teaching methods, to emphasize key science content, and to supervise science programs in schools, museums, and other educational settings. The School of Education is one of the 17 colleges and schools of Boston University, the fourth largest independent university in the United States.

Note to editors: A broadcast schedule and descriptions for the eight segments of the Essential Science life-science series can be found online at http://www.learner.org/resources/series179.html.