Presentation on theme: "Rigorous Science Content and Instructional Practice Ms. Katrina Slone, Knott County Public Schools Dr. Kent Price, Morehead State University GEAR UP Alliance."— Presentation transcript:
Rigorous Science Content and Instructional Practice Ms. Katrina Slone, Knott County Public Schools Dr. Kent Price, Morehead State University GEAR UP Alliance Institute March 2009
What is the Mathematics Science Project (MSP)? MSP is a federal initiative to improve mathematics and science instruction. It attempts to deepen teachers content knowledge and enhance their ability to teach their subject area by learning from university partners and other expert practitioners. It includes a component on school leadership development and also on helping the university strengthen teacher preparation.
Knott County Mathematics Science Partnership Project (MSP) Who is involved in Knott County? All teachers of mathematics and science in grades 3-12 School principals and district instructional coaches for mathematics and science District staff responsible for grants and curriculum and instruction Who are the partners? CTL (Collaborative for Teaching and Learning) is the lead and provides coordination plus on-site and distance professional development/coaching Morehead State University provides professional development/coaching with CTL and Knott County Instructional Coaches
What Are the Desired Outcomes? Teachers in grades 3-12 should demonstrate increased knowledge of their content area and increased ability to apply that knowledge to classroom practice, to promote student learning. Knott County High School
What Are the Desired Outcomes? Knott County High School Principals and other instructional leaders should have increased knowledge of how to lead, monitor and support instructional improvement efforts that result in higher achievement.
What Are the Desired Outcomes? Students should demonstrate gains on achievement measures (KCCT) in mathematics and science and on the work they produce in class. Participating teachers and administrators should coalesce into a community of learners that values its own professional growth and develops the capacity to sustain improvement efforts.
What Are the Desired Outcomes? Morehead State University should gain critical insights into preparing and recruiting teacher candidates, and also into working with practicing teachers to deepen their content knowledge.
Current Project Activities Formal training sessions, which engage teachers and principals in rigorous content through model lessons On-site coaching with groups of teachers and in individual classrooms Distance learning and support using Webex and Wikis Study groups focused on content knowledge
The Role of Uncertainty in Science All science involves observations or measurements All measurements have uncertainty Understanding uncertainty is therefore critical part of rigorous science teaching - identified as a gap area by MSP
Types of Uncertainty Random Uncertainty – measurement is just as likely to be too high or too low. – Example: When reading a ruler we round to nearest marking – Can be reduced by taking multiple measurements and using the average – Easily identified: multiple measurements give slightly different answers
Types of Uncertainty Systematic Uncertainty – measurement results in value that is consistently too high, or consistently too low – Example – a ruler that is warped, making it too short – Note reduced by averaging – Difficult to detect: careful technique critical
Accuracy and Precision Are NOT synonyms Accuracy – how close the result is to the true value (lack of systematic uncertainty) Precision – how close a set of supposedly identical measurements are each other (lack of random uncertainty)
Accuracy vs. Precision Illustrated From Taylor 1997
Why is this important? Example – suppose a class is doing an experiment to measure the effect of fertilizer on plant growth by measuring the change in height of originally identical plants with and without fertilizer. After one week, the plant with fertilizer grew 2.1 cm and the plant without fertilizer grew 2.0 cm. Did the fertilizer help?
It depends! Without considering uncertainty: 2.1 cm > 2.0 cm fertilizer helped But if uncertainty is 1 mm 2.1 ± 0.1 cm = 2.0 ± 0.1 cm fertilizer did not help
Conclusions All scientific observations involve uncertainty Understanding uncertainty is essential for rigorous teaching of science Without considering uncertainty, both students and teachers can conclude that an experiment gives the wrong answer or even that science doesnt work Reference: Taylor, John R. An introduction to error analysis – the study of uncertainties in physical measurements, 2 nd ed, University Science Books, 1997