Reviewed by Christina Bekhazi, Mallory Flesher, Caitlin Gonsalves, Janaina Kitzke and Laura Mathis as part of Dr. Pauline Sameshima’s T&L 536 class at Washington State University.

Place-Based Science Teaching and Learning: 40 Activities for K-8 Classrooms is an incredible book that teachers should have to help teach place-based science for K-8 students. This book includes 40 different science activities that can be used for all these age groups. Within this book, the authors also provide the reader with many different assessment strategies to help grade students’ work. I would highly recommend this book to many incoming and experienced teachers who need to understand the importance of place-based learning and how to implement it into their curriculum.

There were many quotes that I read that were very intriguing but a quote that stood out the most was one of how teachers who implement this model of teaching really open up the minds of their students:

“Teachers who take up this model of place-based teaching and learning should be prepared for a change in their classroom and their students. Once we begin to treat our students as the capable thinkers and problem solvers who will be asked to confront tomorrow’s global challenges, it is difficult to go back to traditional fact-driven education. In a sense, if you adopt the approach we are advocating, you are opening up Pandora’s Box and your students are unlikely to let you put the lid back on.” (p.9)

I thought this was very thought provoking and really emphasized the importance of place-based teaching and learning. This quote really introduces you to the idea of how students will be positively affected by place-based teaching and encourages teachers to put this model into practice. Along with the many activities that this book offers for you to implement into your science curriculum this book also promotes the practice of place-based teaching because this approach is: 1) engaging and motivating for students and teachers, 2) meaningful, relevant and authentic to the skills and ways of problem solving that today’s students will need as tomorrow’s citizens, 3) it provides a needed counterbalance to the testing-driven model of instruction that has become dominant in public schools today, 3) one that promotes curiosity, and 5) more reasonable and comparable to education of private schooling.

This book talks about how currently United States students are performing much lower than other countries in the field of science. Much of the argument for this is that classrooms are not pushing for inquiry-based practices but rather are focused on state-level tests and how this has become the primary focus for many schools instead of on student learning:

“We are concerned that more and more, students are being trained to become expert test takers rather than engaged learners and creative problem solvers. The world that today’s students will live in will require creative problem solving and persuasive communication… “(p. 4)

This is a very scary and discouraging direction that our education system is heading towards and these authors believe that place-based teaching and learning can help our system re-direct itself. ______________________________________________________________________________
Buxton, Cory A, and Eugene F. Provenzo. Place-based Science Teaching and Learning: 40 Activities for K-8 Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE, 2012. Print.