The goal of science instruction is to inspire thinking skills necessary for scientific inquiry and to introduce students to the wonder of science. Skyline Math and Science Academy students will gain positive attitudes towards science education and more confidence in their scientific abilities. The Skyline Math and Science Academy start-up team is considering two science curricula: FOSS and Interactive Science.
- The FOSS (Full Option Science System) curriculum, developed by the industry-leading Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California-Berkeley, engages students through activity-based learning. A 1996 study found that third- and fifth-grade students using the FOSS program outperformed students who were not using the FOSS on the science portion of the Stanford Achievement Test. FOSS students also achieved higher scores in reading comprehension, mathematics computation, and mathematics applications.
- Interactive Science for grades K-8 is based on research and best practices from academic research and from some of the most highly regarded experts in science education. What results is a program rooted in sound learning approaches, teaching strategies, and ideas to engage all learners, to maximize their learning, so that they can apply their thinking. Based on research studies with independent education research firms PRES Associates and Magnolia Consulting, students showed a statistically significant improvement from pre- to post-testing after using the Interactive Science program. Students improved their performance as measured by multiple-choice, fill in the blank, and constructed response items.
Science instruction will include:
- Exceptional science learning with integrated literacy practices.
- Hands-on investigations that allow students to engineer through inquiry, problem solving, planning, creating, and improving their own designs for a given topic.
- Use of FOSS science stories and other rich nonfiction literature to extend and reinforce classroom discoveries, conversations, and vocabulary.
- Use of science technology, live animal experiences when appropriate, field trips, nature walks, and a variety of hands-on activities that engage and enrich each student’s learning.
- Scientific exploration through observations, asking questions and researching to get more information on the topic; designing questions to be answered through data collection; forming predictions (hypothesis); conducting the experiment and collecting data; drawing conclusions by using written, verbal, or artistic measures; and reporting the results of their experiment through academic choice options that will allow for creativity and differentiation.
- Interactive Science utilizes the Understanding By Design® framework to help students uncover answers to the big ideas of science, leading students to a deeper understanding of the science concepts. Interactive Science structures each lesson by the 5E learning cycle (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate).
- Interactive Science utilizes interactive, visual, and differentiated learning strategies to address the needs of all learners. Hands-on activities are scaffolded for all learners featuring a wide variety of directed and open ended inquiry labs. Curriculum materials feature engaging visuals that frontload vocabulary and that relate directly to the content serving as important visual cues for English Learners. Teachers’ materials offer differentiated instruction recommendations at point of use.
Science assessment strategies will be further developed during the planning year but are anticipated to include:
- Interactive Science’s wide variety of assessment opportunities. For instance, in every lesson students have the opportunity to self-assess with the “Got it?” assess your understanding sentence frames. At the end of each chapter there is a detailed test prep customized to the state’s test format. Also, Interactive Science’s Progress Monitoring Assessments and Exam View Computerized Test Bank provide further assessment opportunities.
- IXL online resource for supplemental content and for assessment: IXL includes Science components, linked to the Minnesota state standards, as well as reading and math resources.