The Simons Foundation is supporting the Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP) by offering teachers in New York and California the chance to collaborate directly with scientists and artists to design 24 units of study for middle school science students. This represents a rare opportunity for teachers to critique and improve curriculum prototypes. The units will focus on fascinating topics while promoting reasoning, discourse and scientific investigation among students who have had little or no science instruction in earlier grades. Proposed topics include thinking like a scientist, basic approaches to scientific investigation, and using units and measures in science.
One goal of the project is to embed learning opportunities for teachers within the resource materials. Building on the success of a similar SERP math effort, these ‘teacher tune-ups’ will offer a refresher on the content teachers are about to present to students.
SERP also uses animation, images and interactive materials to engage students. The project includes projectable and tablet-based teaching tools packaged in ways that have been found to be most convenient for teachers, allowing them to stay focused on their students rather than on the technology.