Modeling Scientific Practice in High School Biology: A Next Generation Instructional Resource

This project addresses the need for a curricular resource package to support a high school biology course fully aligned to the core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific practices of College and Career Readiness standards. The project will develop a suite of resources including educative curricular materials, pedagogical tools, intensive teacher professional development, and video documentation of exemplary implementation and investigate the impact of the instructional resource on teacher and student learning.

Award Number: 
1348990
Funding Period: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 to Friday, September 30, 2016
Full Description: 

This project addresses an immediate challenge facing high school science education: the need for a curricular resource package to support a high school biology course fully aligned to the core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific practices of College and Career Readiness standards. The project will develop a suite of resources including educative curricular materials, pedagogical tools, intensive teacher professional development, and video documentation of exemplary implementation and investigate the impact of the instructional resource on teacher and student learning. The full curricular resource package will be coupled with an innovative online lesson builder to foster a cycle of continuous improvement, as teachers document their adaptations to the curricular resources over time.

The project has four phases. During the design phase a team of university faculty and science education experts work with two high school biology teachers to modify existing exemplary curriculum materials and instructional supports and align them to the College and Career Readiness science standards. These newly created materials and supports are piloted by the two collaborating teachers and data from the pilot are used to refine the materials. Once the package is complete and refined it will be implemented by an additional ten high school biology teachers. Data from the implementation will allow research into how teachers use the materials to plan their lessons, how the materials are enacted in classrooms and the effects the materials have on student learning. The final phase of the project will be to disseminate the resulting curriculum package and research findings to the public.

The project leverages, aligns and amplifies the NSF-developed resources of previously successful researchers and their tools, methodologies and supports. The need for truly aligned curricula and supports will be pressing as new core standards are implemented across the nation. There is a need for re-tooling the skills and pedagogical approaches of many teachers in the face of the current reforms. The project will meet these needs and provide a substantive contribution to the emerging national vision of quality science education.

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