Classroom BATS and the
National Science Education Standards
The goal of Classroom BATS is to provide teachers with an on-line environment that gives them the resources and tools they need to conduct the types of inquiry-based learning called for by the National Science Education Standards (NSES).
In the NSES, the National Research Council states that "Learning science is something students do, not something that is done to them. In learning science, students describe objects and events, ask questions, acquire knowledge, construct explanations of natural phenomena, test those explanations in many different ways, and communicate their ideas to others... Science teaching must involve students in inquiry-oriented investigations in which they interact with their teachers and peers."
Classroom BATS is designed to facilitate the Standards´ call for "inquiry-oriented investigations in which [students] interact with their teachers and peers." Interaction is encouraged by the conference rooms available to Classroom BATS teachers via the College of Exploration's virtual campus, whereas inquiry-oriented investigations are facilitated by the tools in the Classroom BATS Toolbox and the activities available to cBATS participants. Tools such as the CBATS lesson plans and the OceanExplorer encourage the type of inquiry-based learning the Standards promote, in which students "describe objects and events, ask questions, acquire knowledge, construct explanations..., test those explanations in many different ways, and communicate their ideas to others." These tools also help teachers test their students' current knowledge of science (and thus to identify and remedy any misconceptions), aid the conduct of science (problem solving, planning, decision making), and facilitate authentic assessment. The BATS Bowl allows science students to test explanations of natural phenomena by predicting future values of selected oceanographic data parameters in a fun, competitive environment.
The road to national science education standards formally began in 1989, when the National Governors Association endorsed national education goals and the Bush Administration formed the National Education Goals Panel. The NSES movement built on several important precursors. A Nation at Risk (1983) called for reform of the U.S. education system. Science for All Americans, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1989, defined scientific literacy for high school graduates. In 1992, the National Science Teachers Association, through its Scope, Sequence & Coordination Project, published The Content Core.
Drafting of NSES began in 1991, when leading science and science education associations asked the National Research Council (NRC) to coordinate the project. The final version of National Science Education Standards appeared in 1995.