Students Personalize Their Science Text
A highlight of the Integrated Science Program is that every single one of our 2000+ pages is modifiable by both teachers and students. Delivered digitally via password- protected platforms used by the school, students and teachers use our text as a launch pad for their own ideas, drawings and reflections. From Level I to Level II, students write more and more of their text, creating a truly individualized and personal account of their science learning.
The writing process is carefully scaffolded and intertwined with reading, discussions, and hands-on laboratory work. Below you can scroll through “An Evolution of a Single Page,” noting how a partially blank page changes dramatically as the student takes ownership of the learning.
Click the Image for a Larger View. Use the Arrows to Scroll.
• 2000+ pages of teacher and learner content—all digital, all modifiable Depending on the configuration you choose (see Implementation), labs are numbered specifically for you.
• 35+ Hands-on, Minds-on Laboratory Experiences Teachers have implemented these protocols across a diversity of lab settings for a decade, and only standard high school lab equipment is required. You probably already have what you need, but we provide itemized supply lists and recommended class quantities for filling in the gaps. If you have fancy probeware and other gadgets, modifications are welcomed! View our screencast entitled The Student Experience for further explanation.
• Systems & Structures of Special Ed. and Differentiation (Universal Designs for Learning) We know that some of the best pedagogy takes root in special education. With diverse classrooms and a range of needs, materials with “differentiation” sidebars are insufficient. The whole architecture needs to be designed for diversity. We work directly with Special Needs educators regarding individual students in their charge, and we have implemented with English Language Learner populations with success.
• Learning Architecture That Welcomes Uncertainty What STEM advancements will we learn about tomorrow? What new learning technologies will be available to us? No one knows. Yet our designs celebrate these forward movements, while other providers fear becoming outdated. Our team is continually curating the latest and greatest content and apps from the Web, and making sure that links don’t rot in the meantime.
• Content-rich Performance Assessments We pioneered 3D performance tasks, those that blend scientific inquiry/practices with conceptual understanding and big ideas or global contexts. Our assessments fit into a comprehensive system of master rubrics that are fit-for purpose with each task, to prevent student confusion while building serious STEM competencies and deep conceptual understanding. No more one-and-done, no more exams, no more learn-it-and-lose it. Once teachers and students get the hang of it, they personalize the assessment system, too. No one else has figured this out, folks. View our screencast entitled Competency-based Assessment for Lifelong Learning for further explanation.
• Customized Pacing Guides Depending on the configuration you choose (see Implementation), we make recommendations according to your school schedule format (blocks, periods, cycles, etc.). Yep, we really do that for you. View our screencast entitled The Teacher Experience for further explanation.
• Immersive PD for Teachers Teachers learn by doing. When something is so new, they need to be immersed in a comprehensive model so they can see, hear and feel the change they are engineering in their classrooms. We’ve designed our materials to provide teachers with a “silent coach” who shares implementation tips, pedagogical explanations, and assessment recommendations. We put the “So What?” back into PD. Teachers also participate in a 3-day onboarding institute as well as virtual meetings during the school year. See PD Possibilities for more information.
• Parent Communication Materials We have crafted and timed regular outreach to parents so that they share positive science learning moments with their students. The contexts are compelling to them, too! These materials are done and ready to be sent in an email, posted on a class website, or added to other regular parent communications.
• Customized Environmental Dynamics I To optimize student engagement at the launch of the program, we collaborate with schools to craft a case study on a controversial environmental issue facing your region. Many schools use this as an opportunity to do field work with students. It’s a super way to launch the program successfully!
• Eligibility for the Annual International Student Arts Competition One of the best things about a digital, personalized text is that it invites students to render or insert their own conceptual models, graphs, diagrams, photos, videos and even illustrations. Students can submit their favorites to support the learning of other students in our community! View our recent winners.
• Additional Performance Assessments While the program includes copious formative assessments and performance tasks, some schools require teachers to give longer “tests.” We can provide a package of rich performance tasks to challenge learners at the appropriate developmental level.
• Standards Alignment & Curriculum Maps (Rubicon Atlas, etc.): This extensive tracking system covers all four years of curriculum, tracking ~500 variables. We have never met a set of standards we can’t crush. Seriously. And we can do all of your curriculum maps as well—making teachers very happy!
• Onboarding 3-day Virtual or Face-to-Face Institute This is strongly recommended for the first 2 years, for teachers of Levels I and II. We encourage nearby schools to collaborate to share costs and build community.
• Customized Pacing Guides Depending on the configuration you choose (see Implementation), we make recommendations according to your school schedule format (blocks, periods, cycles, etc.). Yep, we really do that for you.
• Virtual Support We recommend one meeting every 3-4 weeks in the first year of implementation. Teachers new to the program may be oriented virtually via one-on-one meetings to get up to speed quickly.
• Concept Construxions Promote active learning, academic discourse and conceptual connections across disciplines with our patented system
• SMaRTs SMaRTs are Student-Made Reference Tables. Mimicking the work of real scientists, students gather and share data on a variety of topics (i.e., gas laws, reaction types, cell organelles) and organize them in the SMaRTs as they progress through the course. The end result is a handy study tool—and a good thing to bring to IB or AP science class! We customize the use of SMaRTs based on your school’s pacing guide.
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