Missouri-Iowa Science Co-op Annual Report Overview
ANNUAL REPORT FOR AWARD # 9911857
James A Shymansky ; U of Missouri Saint Louis
Activities and findings:
Research and Education Activities:
1. help school districts transform their K-6 science program into an
inquiry program that is consistent with NSES, state standards, and research on how children think and learn;
2. help school district teams learn how to select, adapt, and
implement instructional units from existing innovative science programs;
3. improve the science content knowledge and instructional practices
of all K-6 teachers in the participating school districts on the science
4. collect evidence of the impact of the district's reform effort to
share with school boards, parents, and community groups; to create a network of teachers, students, and parents within and across Co-op school districts to capitalize on a larger, shared expertise.
5. create an infrastructure of teaching staff and resource material
support to ensure long-term, cost-effective systemic reform.
We have begun to help participating school districts formalize their
science curriculum frameworks and to begin selecting science units
(FOSS, Insights and STS kits) that are consistent with their
frameworks. We have also created leadership teams at each school
district that consist of one teacher from each K-6 building to serve
as a 'science advocate' for their building and one or more grade 7-12
science teachers in each district to serve as 'science partners' for
the district. Finally, we have established and begun to utilize the
interactive television network that links all school districts
together for the school year inservice and support.
Training and Development:
The first summer leadership workshop provided 'science advocate' and
'science partner' teams from each of the 37 participating districts
experience in the 'unit adaptation' process which will serve as the
organizing theme of subsequent summer workshops for teachers at the
local (co-op) sites. The adaptation process is built on a modified
learning cycle as the preferred mode of inquiry teaching. The process
also focuses on strategies for integrating reading and writing to
learn strategies in hands-on science instruction.
Approximately 10 of the participating school districts ran newspaper
stories describing the district's focus on reforming their science
programs. Strategies for wider dissemination of information about
project activities are on the agenda for monthly co-op meetings yet
this first project year.