Team 2000, a partnership between the Buffalo City School District and the Buffalo Museum of Science, is developing an inquiry-based, concept-oriented instructional program in science and mathematics for students in grades K-8 over a five year period. This partnership produced the Nation's first elementary school physically attached to a museum. Teachers participating in the project receive 100 hours minimum of hands-on professional development. They are trained to teach three grade-appropriate nationally validated hands-on science kits. There is a kit designated for each of the three subjects areas that comprise the science curriculum: life, earth and physical sciences. The curriculum kits are based on materials taken from EDC-Insights, Science and Technology for Children (STC), Museum to Go, and Full Option Science System (FOSS).
The teacher workshops involve examinations of alternative assessment, cooperative learning strategies and working with museum curators and other scientists to enhance their understanding of science. A program of advanced professional development includes the use of the Pasadena Modules program,natural history-based courses being developed by teams of teachers and museum scientists, and the introduction of the Museum-developed Object Lessons program. By providing this professional development to the District's teachers, Buffalo plans to make inquiry-based instruction the core of the science curriculum. Participation from the larger community and local businesses provides the continued support to make this happen. As TEAM 2000 prepares for the implementation of a comprehensive K-8 science program in all of Buffalo1s sixty-one elementary schools, a Science Materials Center and a Center of Inquiry at the Museum will support these educational reforms. TEAM 2000 offers three-week summer institutes, Saturday workshops and after school seminars dedicated to advancing inquiry-based teaching and learning. Principals also need an understanding of the teaching philosophy, so TEAM 2000 plans to launch a program of seminars to address the issues of administrative support and provide on-going professional development opportunities for principals. This project is compatible with New York1s Systemic Initiative1s objective of promoting an inquiry-based science program and providing a framework for the implementation of a learner-centered instructional program. By meeting these objectives, Buffalo Public Schools will eventually have all 1,400 K-8 teachers teaching inquiry-based science.