New Curricula

Mobilizing Minds: Teaching Math and Science in the Age of Sputnik

Curricula—Novelty and Diffusion

From the early 1950s, several American university programs sought to improve the quality of primary and secondary school instruction in science and mathematics. Distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and teachers participated in these efforts. With Sputnik, this work took on a new urgency, and received greater funding from private foundations, local authorities, and the federal government. In some cases, ideas that had been proposed years earlier received new publicity. In other instances, new participants proposed ideas of their own. Curricula changed not only in physics and mathematics, where reforms had been underway, but in astronomy, biology, chemistry, and the earth sciences. There were programs for children from preschool through high school.

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