PDI-9: Designing Effective Science Instruction: Developing Student Understanding through Classroom Inquiry, Discourse and Sense-Making
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Location: New Orleans—Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, room 346
Science Area: Integrated/General
Intended Audience: General
Recommended Pathway Sessions
McREL, Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning
Anne Tweed, Principal Science Consultant, McREL
Sarah LaBounty, Senior Science Consultant, McREl
- What are the characteristics of effective, high-quality science instruction?
- What are the strategies that teachers can use to help students’ develop conceptual understanding?
- How can inquiry-based instructional strategies help students understand content?
- How can teachers engage and motivate students to want to learn and understand in their science classrooms?
Designing Effective Science Instruction 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 and understanding. The day-long professional development and the additional pathways sessions will engage participants in activities to help them understand how inquiry, discourse and sense-making activities in their science classrooms translate to student understanding. Participants will receive a participant’s manual that provides information about the six strategies that help engage and motivate students in ways that support student understanding of science concepts.
With state science assessments already in place, there is an urgent need to help science teachers figure out how to differentiate for students. Clearly, a teacher must have clear learning goals as a first step. Then the students need to know the criteria for success to meet those goals. With these two pieces in place, teachers can then assess for student prior knowledge in order to set instructional goals that respond to the learning needs of their students. Responding to the learning needs of students is the key to developing student understanding. During the session, we will review the findings of selected research studies and review the research on how students learn to inform our conversations about developing student understanding. Teachers who have been bombarded with multiple messages about improving student achievement will find Designing Effective Science Instruction to be practical, to-the-point, supportive, and doable.
Designing Effective Science Instruction: Developing Student Understanding through Classroom Inquiry, Discourse, and Sense-Making 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 recommendations 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 its work related to developing and revising standards, supporting school improvement, designing and delivering professional development on a range of topics, including instruction and school and district leadership. Our work with teachers around Classroom Instruction that Works prompted us to develop professional development programs specifically for science teachers.
McREL works with science teachers through contracts with states, districts, and schools, and the federal government. For example, McREL holds the contract for the Regional Educational Laboratory for the Central Region and the North Central Comprehensive Center. In addition, McREL has contracts with NASA to provide education and public outreach for several of its missions (e.g., Dawn) and a National Science Foundation grant (NanoLeap) to develop curriculum materials that address nanotechnology. You can find out more about McREL’s work at www.mcrel.org.