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Discussion: Science Instructional Materials for Middle School: Informing Future Initiatives

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posted by: Linda Gregg on August 27, 1999 at 11:29PM
subject: Middle School Science Curriculum
Response from Linda Gregg, PI Las Vegas, NV LSC K-5, MASE, and looking to
add 6-8.
Thank you to everyone for letting me "read in" on all your nuggets of
wisdom. Did I miss mention of time to get materials out - do science- and
put materials away? Time to do inquiry seems to be one thing I hear. Are
you finding this a problem or have you lengthen time to teach science in
middle school?

Modules seem to have the most appeal here to enable teachers to move to
inquiry and still address state standards which call for inquiry and depth
and still have too many major ideas at each grade.

The last posting from "dinko" that experience with "real science" should be
central to professional development is good to hear. Inquiry opportunities
have been most important to our K-5 initiative. Coming from K-5, I must
ask-- what a AGI middle school materials?

In mathematics, we use Investigations in Number, Data, and Space and find
it an excellent model for structuring background information and providing
suggested questions that teachers can use as they start standards-base
teaching. The student samples responses give teachers excellent guidance in
what to expect from student responses. Publishers should use this model as
a starting place. The manual becomes a real resource for background and
guide for teaching.

Publishers should make video to show what exemplary middle school
classrooms implementing their materials --inquiry-looks like. They should
create PSAs that show parents what they should see in schools that are
teaching science to meet challenges of tomorrow and ensure their children
will be educated for the future not the past.

Students need text and many parents want to see a "textbook". In my
opinion the textbook probably needs a hard back cover and the guts could be
"different" than traditional textbooks. Soft cover might work but not in
all areas of this county. So what might help here? Ideas from those in
middle school? In elementary - it seems that it would be great to read
notebooks(journals) by real scientists studying topics related to the
course of study; papers that other students publish that put forth their
ideas and findings and invite an exchange of ideas over time. Where is
this going - to potential network that "users" of a series could contribute
to and learn from ----that a company would sponsor for purchasers? Let's
make school science reflect real science.

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