Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting Smarter About Science - Inquiry-Based Science Curriculum

Getting Smarter About Science - Inquiry-Based Science Curriculum

Smarter Science is a framework for instruction and learning and has been designed to create and support the process of scientific discovery and exploration in the classroom.  It is a fantastic resource for classroom teachers and science specialists and beats anything I had learned about teaching the subject during teacher training (or in any workshops or Pro-D since).

The framework has many options and levels, and can be used from K to 12.  Students can control or substitute variables to create their own experiments, which allows them to explore questions arising from previous learning. Using this framework brought meaning to what I routinely try to teach. Clearly, I emerged from high school and university science courses without any deep understanding of the processes of science or the richness of the whole experience of scientific discovery. Thankfully, it is never too late to learn. 

The Smarter Science website has a number of resources.  In particular, I found the Steps to Inquiry, the PEOE (Predict, Explain, Observe, Explain) Steps and the Inquiry Cards to be a valuable tool (and now an essential one) in my classroom.   Not sure what the framework is or how to use it?  They have their own YouTube Channel to offer support  And there is a Question Matrix to help guide students towards deeper, critical thinking type questions.

Inquiries I have carried out include Energy Balls, Rice Rabbits, UV Beads and the very popular Instant Snow. Student reaction?  An actual thank you from a 13 year old boy for a Science lesson. There are some Professional Development Opportunities being offered in the summer that would be worthwhile for anyone teaching Science.