How can a teacher promote deep understanding across science disciplines while also attending to disciplinary core ideas, scientific practices and crosscutting, as well as goals for science literacy? And how can that teacher concurrently engage students in learning tasks that are challenging and meaningful, and then assess their learning in authentic ways?
The Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST; pronounced I-quest) project develops the next generation of middle school curricula designed to enable teachers with diverse knowledge and experiences to teach science effectively to students with a variety of backgrounds and strengths to meet important learning goals aligned with the Next Generation of Science Standards.
IQWST materials align with the NGSS, are rooted in principles of project-based scientific inquiry, focus on explaining phenomena by engaging in scientific practices blended with disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts, and employ research-based practices shown to promote students’ science and science literacy learning. This coherent curriculum for grades 6-8 sequences physics, earth science, biology and chemistry instruction to build upon students’ prior knowledge and experiences in the real world, and to build understanding from unit to unit both within and across the middle school years. Students learn complex scientific ideas by engaging in scientific practices that include construction and using models, constructing scientific explanations, engaging in argumentation with evidence, analyzing and interpreting data gathered either from students' own investigations or captured within complex data sets, and presenting and evaluating ideas.
The interdisciplinary team of science teachers, scientists, literacy experts, curriculum designers, and university researchers worked collaboratively to ensure that the units provide the best possible support both for teachers and their students in urban, suburban, and rural school contexts.
IQWST is now available through Activate Learning. Learn more about IQWST by visiting their web site: http://www.activatelearning.com/