GENERAL OVERVIEW OF SUMMER 1998 INSTITUTES
This summer we are providing three different types of professional development opportunities, tailored for teachers at three different levels of experience with respect to inquiry-centered science teaching in the elementary school.
OFFERED BY BUILDING BRIDGES TO THE FUTURE PROJECT
- Advanced Leadership Institute. We are offering an eight-day, advanced leadership institute which is open to project participants who have completed three years of science experiences in the project, who have shown themselves to be skilled in the teaching of elementary science, and who have interest in developing further as curriculum leaders. The goals focus on helping these teachers become more insightful about the process of professional development and more skilled in providing staff development opportunities and engaging colleagues in it. A major activity will be for small groups of these teachers to plan, with substantial guidance from project staff members, a three-day workshop for teachers relatively naive to inquiry-centered science teaching. Primary teachers will base their planning on the STC Solids and Liquids Teachers Guide and Kit. Intermediate teachers will prepare their workshops using the FOSS Water module. Teachers will rehearse their lessons with their colleagues as students, and coaching/critique sessions will follow. The workshop planning by participants will be informed by their study of "Stages of Concern About the Innovation" and "Levels of Use of the Innovation."
Another aspect of the institute will be further refinement of individual teachers' plans of action for enhancing the science teaching in their schools and school districts. This development will be informed by study, discussion, and role-playing based on the book HeroZ: Empower Yourself, Your Coworkers, Your Company by William C. Byham and Jeff Cox, and by consultations with project staff.
- Introduction to Inquiry-Centered Science Teaching. Participants in the Advanced Leadership Institute will conduct their three-day workshops under the supervision of project staff for teachers new to inquiry-centered and kit-based science teaching. The three-day workshops will be offered in three different sites in the region serviced by the project and will draw participants from project schools. A major focus is to give teachers whose science teaching is not consistent with national and state standards a three-day immersion into the use of one kit, either Solids and Liquids (STC) or Water (FOSS), from a set of exemplary materials. Participants in the six workshops, three primary and three intermediate, will experience conceptual development through investigative techniques, will be prepared to teach with a specific kit in the autumn, will have their enthusiasm for a hands-on, minds-on approach to science enhanced, and will identify their needs for further professional development in science.
- Inquiry-Centered Science Teaching Institutes. These three-week, intensive studies of science content, interwoven with the pedagogy of an inquiry-centered and kit-based approach, are designed for leaders in training who are beginning their second year of study with us. There are two institutes--one for teachers of grades K-3 and one for teachers of intermediate grades. In each three-week institute there are several strands of study.
The science content strands focus on development of a small number of concepts, studied in depth. Each content strand takes participants through a module, representing exemplary materials, and provides extensions for additional breadth and depth for adults. Techniques which teachers will use in their own classrooms are modelled. For the primary group, teachers of K-1 will use Balls and Ramps (Insights) as a vehicle for a study in physical science, and teachers of 2-3 will use Lifting Heavy Things (Insights) in an introduction to simple machines. The primary study of ecology will be related to Habitats (Insights) and additional study of organisms will be related to Animals Two by Two (FOSS). For the intermediate group, the second half of the States of Matter (Insights) module will form the foundation for the physical science study. The first half was completed last summer. The study of ecology will use Ecosystems (STC) as a springboard. The intermediate group will begin a systematic study of variables with the "Flippers" section from the FOSS Variables unit. Scientists-in-residence will provide content consultations with project staff, content validity, and model inquiry behavior during the institute.
The ecology theme in particular will be elaborated during an overnight field trip to a state park where we will be joined by an aquatic biologist and ornithologist who serve as scientists-in-residence for the project.
In the curriculum strand, participants will study Benchmarks (AAAS) and concentrate particularly on age-appropriate concept development, using it to analyze their own teaching practices.
In the leadership strand, participants will work in small groups, with guidance from project staff, to prepare professional development sessions which they will present at the state science teaching convention next winter and in their schools during the 98-99 academic year. The presentations will be based on exemplary materials which participants have experienced during the project.
In the technology strand, participants who do not yet have e-mail addresses will obtain them. Participants will learn to access the Internet, use the Web to research concepts being explored during the institute, and visit sites which are excellent resources for teachers of science and their students.