Thursday, May 15, 2008

Curriculum Meeting- May 14

The Curriculum Committee met today and discussed issues related around the development of hands on activities that incorporate basic principle of How People Learn. Specifically, the committee looked at three key issues: 

1) Reconsider developmental rationale for constraining middle school childrens’ science instruction
2) Effective structuring of clasroom environment for investigative activity via project based instruction preceeded by a meaningful problem
3) Emphasize working like scientists rather than functioning primarily upon students initial state of understanding

The Committee also examined design principles for effective instruction built upon the idea of reflection and revision. Specifically, theses Design Principles for Problems to Projects include:

1) Define Learning Appropriate Goals
2) Provide Scaffolds
3) Multiple Opportunities for Formative Self Assessment
4) Social structures that support participation and revision

The presentation by Dr. Petrosino focused on The Development of a Project, The Scaffolding of Student Activity, Opportunities to Reflect and Revise, The Use of Tools and Opportunities to Acquire Meaningful Content in Mathematics (Data/Measurement) and Science (Experimentation).

The challenge of this work is figuring out how to include detailed project based work like those demonstrated today while still being very conscious and aware of the existence of accountability testing and the educational, social, and political world they inhabit.