Lisa_Hudson-LucasMy four-year-old niece, Gaya, and I were outside one August evening preparing for our trip to Grandma's house. As we loaded my car and buckled-up for the drive, Gaya gazed up at the starry sky and cheerily shouted, "Look at that giant moon!" To this perceptive preschooler, the full moon did appear to be a "giant moon." We talked about the night sky and about astronauts who travel to the moon in special planes. This conversation sparked many questions and elevated her sense of wonder and excitement. She then inquired about going to the moon and the need for a pair of purple "moon glasses" because the moon was too bright. Our drive time was spent repeating and singing, "Hey Diddle-Diddle" and "I See the Moon and the Moon Sees Me".

When we got to Mom's, I unbuckled Gaya from her car seat and carried her to the house. Before going inside, she looked up at the sky once more, hugged my neck and sweetly whispered, "Aunt Lisa, the moon followed us to Grandma's house. He wanted to see Grandma, too."

As I reflect (no pun intended) on Gaya's perspective of the moon, I am encouraged by her inquisitive nature and her curiosity to engage in and explore her environment. I imagine Gaya becoming the next Sally Ride or an Earth and Environmental science teacher in rural North Carolina. The possibilities are endless, and the reality is that she may experience space travel in her lifetime.

My reflection also casts a shadow of concern that many of our K-12 students in classrooms across our state only experience science "Once in a Blue Moon." Will Gaya have the benefit of inquiry-based science instruction and have opportunities to assimilate new learning? Will her science dispositions be altered by the lack of emphasis placed on science education?

It is my hope that the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards will refocus the attention of all stakeholders on science education. This new lens for learning will be one small step toward making science accessible for all students and one giant leap for preparing 21st Century competitive students.

Lisa Hudson-Lucas
NCSLA President 2012-2013