11/9/10 The title of this SLJ article says to me to make science applicable to real life, school librarians can help students wet their appetite for science through research (how to) & outfit them with field guides, applicable handouts having to do with their lessons & local fauna/flora.

The Role of School Librarians in Science Education

By Lauren Barack November 9, 2010
While the world of science can be taught with textbooks and online lessons, it's hardly the same as mucking along the banks of a creek, collecting water samples to study aquatic animals, or lighting ice on fire.In fact, hands-on experiments that demonstrate the real-life applications of science can help enliven the subject for students, according to a new report from Harris Interactive, on behalf of nonprofit educational group iBIO Institute and Astellas Pharma US.
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Nearly all of the 235 science teachers surveyed believe science education is important, with 97 percent agreeing it needs to be more engaging to spark a child's mind and potentially light a path toward a future career in the discipline.
That's where school librarians and other educators come in—they can help bring science applications to life by prepping students with research and demonstrations.
Lauren Freeland agrees. As the secondary science teacher for the PA-based Commonwealth Connections Academy, a tuition-free, public cyber school that students attend from home, Freeland travels across the state in a mobile classroom bringing real-life lessons to K-12 students—lessons she says school librarians can help launch.
Freeland's students recently collected water samples, took temperature readings, and used microscopes to see what they had found at the White Clay Creek Preserve in Chester County, PA. Freeland also treated children to a hands-on owl pellet dissection, where pellets were taken apart to locate skeletons of rodents the birds had eaten and then put them back together for a lesson on the effectiveness of the silent predators.
Freeland says school librarians can outfit students with field guides to identify trees, leaves, and plants just outside their school's front door, or distribute research to students on how to design their own rockets, which science teachers can then augment by helping them build their spacecrafts.

"It's good for real world science," says Freeland. "Especially for students who think about wanting to be a veterinarian, for example, but are not sure. This hands-on experience really helps."
That's certainly the thought behind Astellas's mentors, part of its Science WoRx program, which brings pharmaceutical scientists into classrooms near the firm's Deerfield, IL headquarters.
Astellas's working scientists have run experiments with K-12 students in their schools, from extracting DNA from strawberries to lighting ice on fire. The scientists are also urged to stay in contact with the students and science teachers and to come back for future lectures.
"We leave it up to the scientists to build the relationship with teachers," says Jenny Keeney, associate manager in Astellas's corporate communications department. "But we encourage it."
And Keeney hopes teachers and school librarians will download links to lesson plans from the Science WoRx website, or YouTube, including one where students can learn why the leaves they collected change color.
"We're very curious to see what gets kids excited about science," says Keeney. "Because these kids are the future."