Scientific Literacy Matters: Using Literature to Meet Next Generation Science Standards and 21st Century Skills
Participation in civic and cultural affairs
21st century skills
Children's and Young Adult Literature
Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education
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AbstractScientific literacy matters. It matters because it is vitally important to the education and development of America’s children, tomorrow's workforce, and the keepers of our future. If the future of American individual decision making, engagement in civic and cultural affairs, and valuable contributions to economic development is to be protected, it is critical that American students become more scientifically literate than they are today. Today, most Americans, including students, are considered scientifically illiterate. Recognizing the need to develop and enhance scientific literacy (also known as science literacy), science educators have worked diligently at developing new science standards, new approaches to science teaching, and new techniques aimed at engaging students in the practice of science. In this article, the use of literature is discussed as one method to augment or supplement the teaching of science. In the context of making a literature selection, a new conceptual approach is proposed that includes attention to meeting the Next Generation Science Standards while being responsive to the importance of 21st Century Skills. Additionally, a Literary Assessment Tool is shared that demonstrates how science educators can evaluate a literary selection in terms of how well it will help them to enhance scientific literacy.