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Science Teaching Strategies

OVERVIEW INQUIRY
  • Fundamentals of Inquiry from the Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry
    These five workshops give teachers a thorough grounding in the pedagogy and practice of science inquiry by examining different ways of teaching hands-on science, exploring the process skills of inquiry, engaging in a full scientific inquiry, and considering ways to include inquiry in their own classrooms. Preview these workshops or download the Facilitator's Guide to present these workshops locally.

  • Learning Science Through Inquiry
    From the Annenberg Foundation, this video workshop for K-8 teachers includes 8 one-hour video programs which are available for viewing online. A workshop guide, Web site and graduate credit are available. This is a rich resource for those wanting to learn techniques for themselves or introduce inquiry to others.

  • Synergy Connect: Inquiry Learning
    Six teachers working at different grade levels and with a variety of school populations write of their experiences using inquiry learning in their classrooms. These teachers have worked together in the Exploratorium's professional development project, the Institute for Inquiry.

  • Powerful Learning: Studies Show Deep Understanding Derives from Collaborative Methods
    This in-depth article from Edutopia describes research which shows that "inquiry-based teaching is not so much about seeking the right answer but about developing inquiring minds, and it can yield significant benefits."

  • What do inquiry-based lesson plans look like?
    " Inquiry-based lesson plans are usually referred to as "facilitation plans," to help teachers remember their role as facilitator of learning, rather than fount of all wisdom."

  • Smithsonian Lesson Plans
    Smithsonian lesson plans emphasize inquiry-based learning using primary sources and museum collections.

PROJECT and PROBLEM BASED LEARNING

  • Starting at the End - possibilities and pitfalls of project-based learning
    Alaska Project-Based Learning expert Helena Fagan insists that good projects are designed "backward" — That is, what do we want kids to know and be able to do when the project is finished? Includes a project design template.

  • BioQUEST Library Online
    BioQUEST Library Online is "an ongoing peer-reviewed community publication of software simulations, tools, datasets, and other supporting materials from educators and developers engaged in education and research in science."

  • Core Concept: Project Learning
    Videos provide an introduction to, and overview of Project Learning, one of the key concepts featured in Edutopia's "What Works In Public Education" website.

  • Problem Based Learning
    What is it? Where did it come from? How does it work? and Why is it an effective approach? These questions and more are answered in this article compiled by the California Science Project Leadership et al.

  • Teaching Module: Project-Based Learning (PBL)
    Edutopia's Project-Based Learning Teaching Module is designed for either a two- to three-hour class or session or a one- to two-day workshop, and is divided into two parts. Part One: Guided Process, designed to give participants a brief introduction to PBL, answers the questions "What is PBL about?" "Why is PBL important?" and "How does PBL work?" Part Two: Group Participation, assigns readings and activities for experiential PBL.

CONSTRUCTIVISM

  • Constructivisim: The Theory and the Controversy
    Constructivism is defined and the pros and cons are discussed.

  • Constructing Knowledge in the Classroom
    From the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory publication Classroom Compass, this article describes what a constructivist teacher does and and what happens in a constructivism classroom

  • Constructivisim: From Philosophy to Practice
    This site aims to highlight attempts to integrate constructivist characteristics into the practice of teaching and learning. A discussion of constructivist epistemology and learning theory is followed by: (a) summary of characteristics of constructivist learning and teaching, (b) compilation of a constructivist checklist, and (c) application of this list to five educational projects and environments to observe how constructivist epistemology and theory of learning can be accommodated in educational practice.

RELATED RESOURCES

  • Assessing for Learning from the Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry
    These five workshops build on one another so participants develop a comprehensive view of formative assessment in the classroom. After an introduction to formative assessment, participants learn to assess process skills, determine how different kinds of questions can reveal students' science ideas, discover how feedback can help students advance their own ideas, and examine ways to involve students in assessing their own work. Preview these workshops or download the Facilitator's Guide to present these workshops locally.

  • Educator Resources from Action Bioscience
    Action Bioscience has posted peer reviewed articles and related educator resources which address issues that affect students' lives. These articles and activities are useful tools as teachers work to relate curriculum content to student interests.

Updated: 14 October 2009

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