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MSP PROJECT DEVELOPING STEM LESSONS TO IMPROVE LEARNING IN GRADES 4 & 5 Inquiry/PBL - Webinar Webinar authored as part of a Math-Science Partnership grant.

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Presentation on theme: "MSP PROJECT DEVELOPING STEM LESSONS TO IMPROVE LEARNING IN GRADES 4 & 5 Inquiry/PBL - Webinar Webinar authored as part of a Math-Science Partnership grant."— Presentation transcript:

1 MSP PROJECT DEVELOPING STEM LESSONS TO IMPROVE LEARNING IN GRADES 4 & 5 Inquiry/PBL - Webinar Webinar authored as part of a Math-Science Partnership grant from the Virginia Department of Education, “Developing STEM Lessons to Improve Learning in Grades 4 and 5.” Copyright 2012, Sweet Briar College Produced by: Jill Nelson Granger (project director) with Jim Alouf, Cyndi Osterhus, Arlene Vinion-Dubiel, and Hank Yochum

2 STEM? The term STEM is used to describe the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math STEM fields have been identified as “critical areas of national importance” in education.  STEM fields are tied to innovation, economic growth, and global competitiveness  However, US students lag behind other nations in these areas The science education community understands that STEM fields can best be taught using an approach that brings math and science, computers and technology, and design and testing together in a real-world context.

3 What is STEM Visit this website: What is STEM? on the Science Outreach Center website at Saint Francis University Be prepared to answer these questions from the article:  Who is calling for national reform of science and math education and why?  What are some of the learning goals that an integrated STEM education should reach? (Think about the learning goals in terms of a KUD… what the student should Know, Understand, and be able to Do.)

4 Science is a Verb We use a constructivist approach to teaching  Children build new knowledge by linking to what they already know or have experienced  Science teaching should mimic what scientists actually do  Science is a social endeavor  Constructivism is not a new idea … has roots that can be traced back to the eighteenth century. Modern constructivists include Piaget, Dewey, Vygotsky, and Bruner  Understanding (learning) requires active engagement with the concepts in a meaningful context Only by wrestling with the conditions of the problem at hand, seeking and finding his own solution (not in isolation but in correspondence with the teacher and other pupils) does one learn. ~ John Dewey, How We Think, 1910 ~

5 Constructivism Visit this link - a great article on Constructivism as it relates to Inquiry Teaching in STEM…. It’s from The Exploratorium! Constructivism as a Referent for Science Teaching Be prepared to answer these questions from the article:  How does “objectivism” compare to “constructivism”?  Why is cooperative learning an important part of constructivist teaching?  How does the idea of classroom management change when one moves from an objectivist philosophy to a constructivist philosophy?  Why is uncovering the students’ prior knowledge an important first step in constructivist teaching?

6 Learner - Centered Teaching STEM requires us (teachers) to  Embrace the idea that CONTENT and PROCESS are tied together, and to  Shift our thinking about the Teacher – Student relationship. Learners need to interact with  data  each other  resources  tools and technology Teachers  provide resources  provide guidance  prompt and question  set expectations

7 Approaches In this webinar we are going to focus on two approaches to learner-centered STEM education:  Problem-based Learning (aka PBL)  Inquiry

8 PBL Many authors refer to the role of the Teacher in a Learner- Centered Classroom as “The Guide on the Side.” Visit this webpage from the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Boston: Problem Based Learning in Science It describes an active learning approach called Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Be prepared to answer questions like these from the article.  What is an “ill defined problem”?  Give some examples of what the teacher would be doing in a PBL lesson.  What are “IPF” questions? In what ways is this type of questioning analogous to questioning approaches used in inquiry teaching?

9 Inquiry Inquiry approaches to teaching STEM engage the learner in  Using Data to Answer Questions An Inquiry Lesson starts with a testable Question  Students can develop the ability to ask questions that can be investigated Once the Question is posed, students engage in using data to answer the Question  Students may be collecting the data  Students may be designing the method for collecting data  Data may be obtained from external resources (NASA, for example)  Analytical skills are developed Compare the PBL approach to active learning to the Inquiry approach. What do you think are the key differences?

10 Teacher as Facilitator Teachers provide support in the form of probing questions to help the students  Articulate a testable question  Devise a procedure for investigation  Analyze and make sense of the data  Consider error and uncertainty  Frame a reasonable evidence-based answer to the question

11 Questions Question for Investigation  May need revision before it is ready for Investigation  What is the best brand of paper towel?  REVISED - Is paper towel cost related to paper towel absorbency?  May need “an expert” to provide needed background information as question is being developed  What are paper towels made of?  EXPERT – using library resources and/or the internet, student can learn about paper processing  Should include outcomes that can be measured  How good are the brands of paper towel?  MEASURE – define what you mean by “good”… strength, absorbance?  Shows relationship (not a yes/no or a single number/word answer)  Are paper towels able to soak up a typical spill?  RELATIONAL – How is absorbance related to brand recognition?

12 Prompting Testable Questions Lloyd Barrow has a great article on prompting students to use higher level thinking to formulate testable questions: Science Activities: Classroom Projects and Curriculum Ideas, v45 n1 p9-11 Spr 2008 Barrow’s article: “Four Question Strategy by Barrow” is available on the publishers website, through an internet data base search such as ERIC, or at your local academic library.publishers website Be prepared to answer questions from the article such as:  What are key indicators that a lesson is an “inquiry” lesson?  In what ways are Barrow’s Four Questions helping the students to develop testable questions?  Is Barrow’s strategy applicable to all types of inquiry? Why or why not?

13 Levels of Inquiry Structured Inquiry  Teacher poses the Question and provides the method for data collection  Student uses the data to answer the Question Guided Inquiry  Teacher poses the Question  Student develops the method for data collection, analyzes the data and uses the data to answer the Question Open Inquiry  Student poses the Question, develops the method for data collection, analyzes the data, and uses the data to answer the Question Review Smetana, Binns, and Bell’s article,Simplifying Inquiry Instruction, available from the NSTA as a.pdf download.Simplifying Inquiry Instruction

14 When is Active Learning NOT Inquiry? (other forms of active learning) Problem-Based Learning  Focus is on a problem to be solved  Results are usually divergent due to multiple approaches  Is not necessarily in pursuit of a Question  Does not necessarily results in data analysis  IS context driven Confirmation Labs (“cook book”)  Focus is on repeating a procedure to obtain a known response  Possibly results in data to be analyzed  Question is notably absent  Can be conducted without context Hands-On  Engages student in manipulating things  Might involve use of technology

15 Mystery Math Example Here’s a fun J-Lab activity … Try it! J-Lab "Mystery Math” Would you characterize it as Inquiry, PBL, Confirmation/Cookbook, or Hands-On ??? Why?

16 Process and Content A fundamental understanding of the Nature of Science is that the process of STEM (how its done) is inextricably linked to the content of STEM (what we know). They can’t be separated. What we know about the world is tied to how that knowledge was obtained. Too often the way in which STEM is analyzed or described makes it sound as if process and content are two separate parts of STEM learning. In their book, ‘Scaffolding Science Inquiry Through Lesson Design” (Heinemann publishers, 2008), Klentschy and Thompson describe process and content in this way: When implementing science curriculum, teachers must (1) help their students develop a positive attitude toward science; (2) teach the skills inherent in the scientific process; (3) employ research-based teaching strategies; and (4) make multidisciplinary connections. Although these elements are discussed separately here, they are interdependent and inseparable from content and big ideas. Process skills are interwoven with content, and students’ attitudes toward science are greatly influenced by how process skills are used in active learning.

17 Integrating STEM The idea of integrating STEM is tied up with various initiatives toward “21 st Century” schools, 21 st Century classrooms, 21 st Century skills, etc. It is widely accepted that critical skills such as creativity and conceptual thinking are dependent on our ability to think across disciplinary boundaries, and that these are skills that will be necessary for the US to maintain a technical and economic advantage in the future. We can go back to the national calls to reform – and find the directives to integrate teaching and learning around STEM concepts in “real world” contexts. Here’s a headline from 2007: Science News National Action Plan For 21st Century Science, Technology, Engineering And Math Education ScienceDaily (Aug. 15, 2007) — The National Science Board (Board) unanimously adopted a motion to release for public comment a draft action plan to address critical 21st century needs in the nation's STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education system. Two overarching actions stressed in the plan are increasing coordination of STEM education--both horizontally among states and vertically through grade levels--and increasing the supply of qualified K-12 STEM teachers.

18 STEM Origins The Great Plains STEM Education Center at Valley City State University (North Dakota) offers STEM support throughout North Dakota. Go to their website at gpstem.vcsu.edu Download and browse the publication, “STEM Education” which you can access through this link. Pay particular attention to the sections on page 6, starting with “A Bit of History.”STEM Education Be prepared to answer questions such as:  What is the role of corporate America in STEM Education?  What indicators are there in the STEM Education reform movement that content and pedagogy need to be taught together?  What evidence exists to support Mark Prensky’s statement, “Today’s students are not the people our educational system was designed to teach?”

19 The Scientific Method Many text books (and other sources) continue to provide “The Scientific Method” as a linear, uni- directional series of steps. Here we see an example from popular author of science nonfiction for children, Janice VanCleave. So? There are two HUGE problems with this perception – (1) it doesn’t represent how science is actually done (the Nature of Science is misrepresented) and (2) it stereotypes the work of scientists. We reject this iconic misrepresentation and encourage the use of a more realistic, flexible and integrative model… From

20 The Activity Model We prefer the “Activity Model” of Inquiry which places the Question at the nexus of a variety of activities. The Activity Model was developed by Harwood in consultation with many practicing scientists. It does not suffer from the linearity or the uni-directional bias of the stereotypical presentation. The Activity Model helps us to view science as an iterative, social enterprise. Harwood’s paper is available through this link. Harwood’s paper is available through this link After skimming Harwood’s paper, be prepared to answer questions such as:  Are we the only ones who are rejecting the old model Scientific Method?  Do you have any experiences with investigation that could be described using the activity model?  Harwood claims that the old model Scientific Method “limits our ability to describe exciting inquiry-based” instruction. Do you have any experiences which would support (or refute) his claim?

21 STEM is Everywhere! Just for fun, see how STEM and Inquiry are creeping into the public sphere…  Do an internet search and see what turns up! Check out Super Grover 2.0!Super Grover 2.0 “As an extension of the season’s curriculum focus on scientific investigation, this new series emphasizes a STEM curriculum by modeling the process of scientific inquiry.” WHAT A HOOT! “He observes. He questions. He investigates. He’s Super Grover 2.0!”

22 STEM Lessons for 4 th and 5 th Grade Please visit our project website: 17 Central Virginia 4 th and 5 th grade teachers worked for a year to develop STEM lessons that use either an Inquiry or a Problem-based learning approach. The lessons were field tested, assessed, and revised using a lesson-study approach. The complete lesson plans, along with instructional videos, are available for download.


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