This project is developing technology-rich science curriculum exemplars for grades 3-6 based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. The project is testing the effectiveness of the approach and providing an exemplar that can inspire additional content and further development. A set of professional development materials to support teacher implementation of UDL science curriculum in the classroom is planned. Probes are used for lab investigations and computational models are used for experimentation in virtual environments.
A Technology Exemplar: Post-textbook UDL Materials
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Elementary Science Materials use inquiry as the cornerstone for the development of elementary science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities. To give the degree of control over the learning environment that UDL requires, it is important that inquiry be brought under computer management. Students explore the real world using probes and simulated worlds using computational models. This gives students powerful tools in a software environment that allows the tools to be adapted to individuals.
Units were developed around four driving questions. Why are there clouds? What if there was no friction? What do plants eat? What is electricity? Each unit contains grade-appropriate (grades 3-4 and grades 5-6) hands-on, model-based, and probe-based activities with a wide range of alternatives for the way tools are used in the classroom, the materials are represented and communicated, and learning is assessed. These alternatives boil down to a series of software switches and sliders that teachers and students can control in order to individualize the learning experience.