PDI-8: Designing Effective Science Lessons: Research Into Practice (McREL)
Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Location: Boston, MA—Boston Convention and Exhibition Center; Room 206A
Recommended Pathway Sessions
McREL (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning)
Anne Tweed , Principal Science Consultant, McREL
Sarah LaBounty , Senior Consultant, McREL
- What are the characteristics of effective, high-quality lessons?
- What are the strategies that teachers can use to improve their lessons and students’ conceptual understanding?
- What science content should students be learning and how do you know they learned it?
- What kind of classroom environment should science teachers provide?
Designing Effective Science Lessons is a professional development program designed to improve teachers’ ability to plan and deliver effective lessons to diverse student populations. All recommended strategies are founded upon a research base showing improved student achievement. Examining our three-part framework of content, understanding, and environment helps teachers discern where improvements are needed and which actions to take next. Participants are asked to bring a unit of study to focus on during the professional development institute.
As state science assessments are being implemented in 2007, there is an urgent need to help science teachers meet the needs of their students and ensure high levels of achievement. Researchers in a national study of diverse K–12 classrooms observed science lessons and conducted follow-up interviews with the teachers to explore their instructional decision-making. In their findings, Looking Inside the Classroom (Weiss, et. al., 2003), only 15% of the lessons were of high quality while 59% of the lessons observed were of low quality. These findings indicate that there is an urgent need to help teachers provide high-quality learning experiences in their classrooms. During the session, we will review the findings of this study and examine research on how students learn in order to inform our practice and design effective science lessons. Teachers who have been bombarded with multiple messages about improving student achievement will find Designing Effective Science Lessons to be practical, to-the-point, supportive, and doable.
Designing Effective Science Lessons is intended for K–16 teachers, curriculum supervisors, district science supervisors, and professional development providers.Teachers at all stages of their careers will benefit from the research based suggestion in this Professional Development Institute.
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) is a private non-profit organization whose purpose is to improve education through applied research and development. McREL provides products and services, primarily for PreK–12 educators, to promote the best instructional practices in the classroom. McREL is known for their work revising standards, providing school improvement, designing and delivering professional development, and their work in balanced leadership. Our work with teachers around Classroom Instruction that Works prompted us, in 2003, to develop a professional development program specifically for science teachers.
For the past decade, McREL science consultants worked with teachers as part of the ERC grant, which was funded by the Department of Education. Our organization also holds the Department of Education Regional Education Laboratory contract for the mid-continent region and the North Central Comprehensive Center contract. Funding also includes contracts with NASA on Educational and Public Outreach, a National Science Foundation Nanoleap grant, and additional contract work. You can find out more about McREL’s work at www.mcrel.org.