Three years ago Paul Saltman, professor of biology at the University of California, San. Diego, concluded that something drastic had to be done to pull the United States up from its low international ranking in science literacy. “I thought this was just outrageous and obscene,” he says. “So I had to put my body and brain and my mouth on the line.”

Convinced that children become turned off to the study of science as early as the grade-school level, Saltman focused his plans on elementary teachers. The biology professor joined forces with Melanie and Bob Dean—a team of science education consultants—along with administrators from UC-San Diego’s extension program. The group set out to design a course that would bring science out of the ivory tower, making it accessible to the elementaryschool teachers of San Diego County. Together the organizers enlisted support from a private funding agency and obtained a $940,000...

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