Keynote Address, National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) National Conference, March 2011, San Francisco

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Science – It’s Not a Book of Knowledge … It’s a Journey


Dr. Jeff Goldstein

Center Director

National Center for Earth and Space Science Education


Every parent remembers that magical time when our children first began to speak, that moment marking the beginning of an unending flow of questions. In our children we can see our humanity — our innate curiosity — and recognize the obvious … that we are born to explore!


Science, in all its seeming complexity, is nothing but a means to organize curiosity. A way to empower one’s self to ask the gift of a question, and to hone the art that allows navigation through the noise of the universe around us in quest of an answer. It is an emotional, joyful, and wondrous journey that hopefully allows the traveler to pull back the veil of nature just a little, see how she operates, and celebrate the accomplishment.


Science education is no different. It is the means by which we immerse our children in the act of journey by letting them do science, and acknowledging it is their journey. As teachers, our sweet reward is seeing the joys of learning wash over them. And as teachers, we are charged with nothing less than patiently and gently launching the explorations of an entire generation.


The journey is written in our genes … the book of knowledge is not.

What should that reveal about both science and science education?

—Dr. Jeff


Some related essays:

The Art of Teaching at Huffington Post

The Nature of Our Existence

The Power of Models

Dr. Jeff on U.S. Need in Science Education

An Open Letter to President Obama

Jeffisms (after lots of coffee)

Scientists and Engineers as Heroes


visit Store Galactica, supporting programs of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education

One Response to “Keynote Address, National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) National Conference, March 2011, San Francisco”

  1. Patricia Dickerson Says:
    January 16th, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    This is from a homeschooling mother. If the approach to teaching in a rural area such as ours was of the quality as described by Dr. Jeff above my daughter would still be in public schools. The lack of access to superior teaching methods has a direct negative effect on the futures’ of many children in public highschools. Many are ill prepared for college when and if they arrive. Often, those that do make it, wash out by the end of the first semester. It is a lamentable state we find ourselves in, living in one of the wealthiest countries on the globe. The human brain evolves slowly. Despite the rapid decline in our society, the same brain, hungry for knowledge, that drove humans to explore space, sits alone and wasting in the skulls of our children. Such is the lament of a homechooling mother,

    Thank you Dr. Jeff

    Patricia Dickerson

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