Summer Workshop Plans
Great Ideas in Science Summer Workshop Agenda
How long do your workshops last?
Our summer institute is 4 weeks long, and we meet three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) from 8:30 am until 3 pm. Most workshops are all-day (6 hours), but some are half-day (3 hours). This schedule gives the teachers the long weekends to process what they have learned and to work on their assignments. We also have a 9-day Alumni Leadership Institute for returning summer institute participants, and various 1-day and half-day follow-up workshops. This year in August we are also taking a group of alumni from the program to Belize for a 9-day travel-study experience on the ecology and archeology of the Maya homelands, with applications for classroom science.
How many teachers do you involve in your workshops?
Sixty-five teachers are involved in this year*s summer institute. Other teachers, in groups varying from 4 to 175, will be involved in follow-up workshops of various sorts throughout the school year.
What are your major goals for your workshops in terms of content and pedagogy? (Just one or two paragraphs)
The Great Ideas in Science staff are modeling inquiry-based and problem-solving approaches that are learner-centered and constructivist in philosophy. The staff are teachers experienced in the program, who are teamed with university scientists to facilitate workshops. The content is chosen based on the topics in the curricula for each grade level in each district. The topics for the workshops are listed on the schedule attached. We also target specific concepts that our experience shows are difficult for teachers to learn, and that are likely to receive only superficial treatment in the classroom. These include density, plate tectonics, and plant growth patterns, for example.
In all workshops, the teachers perform short investigations or carry out problem-solving exercises that they later reflect on and discuss as a model for teaching. Teachers analyze their own experiences with regard to the learner*s process in acquiring new understandings and in applications of those understandings. Assessments are embedded as well as final performance-style activities. Teachers in the summer institute have an assignment to develop their own individualized Action Plan in which they re-craft a unit that shows how they will implement inquiry-based approaches this school year.
Are you offering professional development on specific curricula that you are hoping will be used in the classroom? If so, which curricula are you using?
In the workshops, the participating teachers are experiencing models of teaching that utilize the materials that they will have in their classrooms this fall. We are using Science and Technology for Children for 1-6, FOSS for K, and Event-Based Science and some STC for 7-8. We use the modules to teach the teachers, and to jump-off to higher levels of understanding, as well as to explore the pragmatic aspects of classroom implementation of nationally-validated curricula.
*STC = Science and Technology for Children
*EBS = Event Based Science
*FOSS = Full Option Science Series