IntegratingScience.com

Resources for Science Education Developed by Suzanne Lyons  M.A., M.A.

About Suzanne Lyons

Suzanne Lyons M.A., M.A., is an educator, author, and developer of educational materials.  This site gives you a look at some of the science education resources she has created in her over 20 years of educational publishing. There is work from the deep past as well as her latest and greatest stuff.

Suzanne’s career began in informal education, developing exhibits for the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California. She moved on to teaching middle school science and math in the Oakland Public Schools. She later taught honors physics and general science at Mountain View High School, in Mountain View California. She has also taught science at the elementary school level and been a lecturer to teachers in University level science education courses as well.

Always a lover of writing and art as well as science and teaching, Suzanne has spent the bulk of her career in educational publishing, creating all kinds of educational materials for teachers. As a development editor, contributing writer, and author/illustrator, Suzanne has created books, games, lab manuals, tutorials, and more for all levels from kindergarten through college. Her published works are characterized by a fun look-and-feel at the same time that they display a high regard for accuracy and thoroughness.

Conceptual Integrated Science

Conceptual Integrated Science is a textbook program co-authored by Suzanne Lyons and her talented colleagues Paul Hewitt, John Suchocki, and Jennifer Yeh.

In this program, the authors teach “Integrated Science”—that is, the study of the major branches of science plus the areas of overlap between them. Conceptual Integrated Science begins with Physics then moves on to Chemistry. Next comes Biology, then Earth Science, and finally Astronomy. High-interest features that showcase how the various branches of science work together complete the curriculum.

For example, the Conceptual Integrated Science text contains a section called Electric Shock that shows how physics and biology can come together in an electrifying manner. The section Coal explains how ancient organisms are buried and compressed over geologic time to produce a fossil fuel that is much in the news.

The Direction of Education — Increasing Integration

The increasing integration of the science curriculum has been underway for a few decades. At one time, introductory science courses were “general science” courses—survey courses covering the physical and life sciences as separate studies. Today, introductory science is often a taught as “integrated science”. An integrated science curriculum covers the major branches of science—typically physics, chemistry, biology, Earth science, and astronomy. But an integrated science course also covers topics that show how the major branches of science intersect. For example, you might find astrobiology or biophysics chapters in an integrated science course.

The motivation for subject integration is that the divisions between the science disciplines do not reflect the real world. For science to mirror nature, science should be taught as a continuum rather than a series of ideas in separate boxes. Or to use the more in-depth language of system science, the natural world is a system. Each part and process within a system affects the others. The only way to accurately describe nature is as an integrated system made up of elements of the separate science disciplines.

But subject integration is not the only way in which educators have integrated science curricula in recent years. Science as practiced in the field and lab is typically intertwined with math and technology, and it is often applied to engineering. Hence, we see the rise of “STEM”. STEM learning is science integrated with technology, engineering, and math. Most science educators no longer teach science without the curriculum connections STEM calls for. Indeed, current teaching standards from NGSS to the California Science Framework call for the STEM approach.