Science and Teaching for Field Instructors

Recommended Reading

Here’s a list of some of our favorite texts, in addition to the many sources from which we’ve drawn inspiration. These texts speak to the kinds of pedagogy and values BEETLES seeks to embody, and are accessible and relevant to program leaders and field instructor.

The Inquiry Project and Talk ScienceA collated set of resources diving into all aspects of meaning-making discussions in science. The Talk Science Primer is a must-read for educators wanting to improve their discussion leading skills, while the videos demonstrate the skills in classrooms.

A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core IdeasThis free PDF set the stage for the Next Generation Science Standards and is a surprisingly interesting and engaging read. To better understand the vision of the NGSS and the standards themselves, read this document.

How People LearnHow People Learn bridges research and practice in education, highlighting key understandings of how people learn and what that means for teaching.

Ken NorrisThe “Professor of Wonderment” and founder of Natural History Field Quarter at UC Santa Cruz has greatly influenced our approach to science learning. Learn more about his legacy at and pick up some of his books, including Mountain Time.

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and JournalingWritten by John Muir Laws in collaboration with Emilie Lygren, this book is a rich source for everything you need to about nature journaling, from drawing curled leaves to how drawing impacts your brain.

Opening the World through Nature JournalingWritten by John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren, this nature journaling curriculum represents some of the best thinking about how to use nature journaling as a learning tool with a wide variety of students.

Ready, Set, Science!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms: This highly accessible book was based on the research report titled Taking Science to School and is intended for science educators who work with classroom teachers. It describes a new vision for science learning on which the Next Generation Science Standards documents were based, and includes examples of classroom “cases” for how this vision could look with students.

Closing the Achievement Gap: Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning. Written by Gerald Lieberman, this report is a classic nationwide study on the impacts of place-based learning.

Learning in and out of school in diverse environments: Life-Long, Life-Wide, Life-Deep. Written by James Banks et al, from The LIFE Center at the University of Washington, this report outlines a set of principles that educational practitioners, policy makers, and future researchers could use to understand and build upon the learning that occurs in the homes and community cultures of students from diverse groups.

Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments: This book is designed to help practitioners in informal science settings–museums, after-school programs, science and technology centers, media enterprises, libraries, aquariums, zoos, and botanical gardens–find out what learning looks like, how to measure it, and what they can do to ensure that people of all ages, from different backgrounds and cultures, have a positive learning experience.

Learning in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits: This book draws together disparate literatures, synthesizes the state of knowledge, and articulates a common framework for the next generation of research on learning science in informal environments across a lifespan.