Efforts to enhance coverage of crystallography in United States secondary education
journal contributionposted on 11.05.2011, 00:00 by Katherine A. Kantardjieff, Joseph Ng, Bernard D. Santarsiero
Because crystallography has often been regarded as an ‘experts only’ science, requiring advanced mathematics and physics, it has been eliminated from many science curricula. In the United States, high school is a critical time when students are exposed to science at a more significant level, preparing them for university, and it is when they make career choices. A contemporary secondary science teaching credential must qualify teachers to present topics in substantive ways, to attract talented and enthusiastic young people to science, and to develop scientific literacy in the future workforce. Education and training policies put forward by the United States National Committee for Crystallography and the American Crystallographic Association recommend that molecular structure awareness should begin in K-12 (kindergarten through 12th grade) education as a core component for implementing established national science standards. Furthermore, many contexts exist in which crystallography can be incorporated into secondary education with minimal disruption. Following these guidelines, preparation of secondary teachers should include professional development in crystallography, providing them with knowledge (fundamental and practical), learning units, tools and modern examples to incorporate into their curricula. This article describes activities whose objective is to enhance secondary education by raising crystallography awareness through workshops, summer schools, student/teacher research internships and remoteenabling technologies.