Teacher professional development and coaching for hands-on science
in Elementary, Middle School and Afterschool Classrooms.
Making the transition to NGSS requires a careful assessment of student needs and teacher capacity. The Understanding by Design protocol helps districts, schools and teachers unpack the new standards, set clear learning objectives and plan lesson units backwards from authentic and rigorous assessments.
Science curriculum kits are still available for Elementary and Middle school classrooms. Kits usually contain materials to demonstrate specific concepts or challenge students to solve related problems. Kit-based science can provide students with first hand opportunities to test ideas, form hypotheses, collect and analyze data and evidence and communicate findings and conclusions to each other and to others.
Afterschool engineering and science projects that use simple and inexpensive materials allow students to build and test simple devices and explore common and interesting phenomena in the world around them. These projects can supplement formal science learning by building interest, confidence and use of the science process skills (practices) that can boost engagement in formal science classes.
Active science learning is students working collaboratively to explore science and engineering problems and phenomena through direct hands-on investigations. It puts the students in charge of their own learning and opens the doors of success to students who have not previously considered themselves to be "scientists" or future STEM workers.
Active Science learning brings the content of the science standards alive. First-hand experience of relationships, patterns and phenomena in the physical world nurture creativity, collaborative problem solving, critical thinking, skepticism about claims and conclusions, as well as the skill of communicating ideas and findings to others.
Active science Learning requires a strong commitment to the students' use and understanding of the NGSS science practices . Disciplined and rigorous engagement with real investigations and problems - including the design of experiments and gathering and analysis of data and evidence - gives context and meaning to cognitive learning of science content.