Since last year, general research on elementary school science in the lower grades has been carried out by our School Science Study Group. In this research, we conducted an "enquete" on elementary school science in the lower grades and the result of this research was published, each researcher submitting his study separately.
In the research undertaken this time, we consolidated all of the researches since last year and made our findings identifying similar character and problems as follows :
1. Status of lower grade elementary science
There are many who are concerned about elementary school science for lower grades but there are only a few in the scademic field who give active opinions concerning this problem and it is of great importance that we heed the words of these people as well as of the general public's opinion.
Science course is necessary in lower grade elementary education and it is better to teach the subject separately from other subjects. Also, since a teacher does not have to be necessarily an expert in science as the upper grade teacher, the teacher-in-charge of the lower grade could teach the science course himself. The content of the science taught would not emphasize on training high thinking methods but in providing the children an environment where they can freely study science in a natural atmosphere.
2. Problems concerning training of teachers
It is necessary to re-educate teachers who are in charge of lower grades in elementary schools although the effectiveness of this training program cannot be anticipated too much since the teachers lack basic thinking method and attitude, etc., and most of the training have to be done through experimentation and laboratory work.
We should consider fundamental problems concerning effective teacher education in colleges although we cannot expect too early improvement.
3. On institutions and school equipments
In lower grade elementary school science, high grade equipments and advanced observations are not necessary. What is important is the providing of natural environment for the children. Schools without gardens should provide one as their first project. Also if a laboratory for the lower grades is set up they can be fully utilized. As audiovisual materials are useful in the lower grade science class it is important to have these facilities for use too.