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Best Practices in Science

Prepared by: Jo Anthony M. Aligora
Why are best practices important?

 Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World Is Flat, refers to a twenty-first century

world that will be very different from the one in which we were educated.
 To survive in a new, globally competitive world, today's children will need
creativity, problem-solving abilities, a passion for learning, a dedicated work ethic
and lifelong learning opportunities.
 Students can develop these abilities through instruction based on Best Practice
teaching strategies.
What is a best practice?

 The EOA Center defines Best Education Practices as the

wide range of individual activities, policies, and
programmatic approaches to achieve positive changes in
student attitudes or academic behaviors. (Promising,
Validated and Exemplary)
 Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan share their definition
for "best practices," which they define as existing practices
that already possess a high level of widely-agreed
Level of Complexity

Examples include mandatory Examples of exemplary

Best education practice assessment of students for
Best education practice
activities programs education practice
proper advisement and
• arebehaviors or policies by placement of students in • are composed of a
programs from the area
faculty, staff, and their classes, training carefully coordinated of academic support
administrators that result in student tutors before they collection of individual include Supplemental
positive changes in student begin their work, active best practice activities. Instruction, Peer-led
attitudes or academic learning activities within the Team
behaviors. classroom, and classroom Learning, Emerging
assessment techniques to
Scholars Program,
provide nongraded feedback
resulting in changed student and Structured Learning
learning behaviors. Assistance.
What Do Best Practices Look Like?

Classrooms that exemplify best practices

are easy to detect as soon as you enter
the room.
 Project materials and books are  Classrooms are activity-based spaces
numerous. as opposed to places to “sit and get”
 Students are engaged and focused on
their work.  Teachers are actively engaged with
different groups and students are
 Teachers often use collaborative anxious to enlist visitors in their various
and/or authentic tasks that place tasks or assignments.
students at the center of the learning
process.  There is a joyful feeling of purposeful
movement, industrious thinking and a
 Seating arrangements are clustered, vital and vibrant atmosphere and
varied and functional with environment.
multiinstructional areas.
What Core Best Practices Can Teachers Implement in Their

1. Balance the curriculum

2. Integrate the Curriculum
3. Differentiate the Curriculum
4. Provide Active Learning Opportunities
Balance the Curriculum

What a balance curriculum is What a balance curriculum is NOT

Includes entire Standard Course of Study (SCS) Planning and teaching in isolation

Educates the whole child (BEP) An individual effort

Includes a challenging and common curriculum Teaching to the test

Based on best knowledge of how children develop Teaching ONLY English Language Arts and
and learn (NASBE) Mathematics
Prepares students for success in school and in life “One size fits all”
Includes all subjects verses only those subjects tested Teaching without assessing student needs
Promotes brain growth and development through an Teaching 15-minute classes to hundreds of students
enriched environment (Diamond & Hopson)
Teaching the text
Balance the Curriculum
What a balance curriculum is What a balance curriculum is NOT

Provides a curriculum that Is rigorous, relevant and Teaching the teacher’s favorite or most comfortable
promotes relationships (NCSBE) topic(s)
Creates active participants rather than passive Teaching some disciplines sporadically (seasons or
observers (Diamond & Hopson) holidays)
Allows students to use the whole brain (Zull) “Fake” integration

Only for some children

Implementing a Balanced Curriculum Helps

• Find relevance in and  Demonstrate talents they bring with

connections with what they them to school and
are learning;
 Develop new, necessary skills and abilities
• Develop a love of learning to be successful in school and in life.
and become lifelong
• Understand themselves and
those around them;
Integrate the Curriculum

What is an Integrated The practice of integrating curriculum

Curriculum? involves students in the unit
development process. It affords them
the opportunity to identify topics,
develop questions, plan inquiry, divide
tasks, research information and share
the learning process and content.
Technology resources are
Why Teach an Integrated Curriculum?

• Allows teachers time to teach their NSSCS objectives.

• Empowers students to take ownership of their
• Supports brain-based research and
• Focuses on both ideas and content.
Implementing Integration Strategies Helps

• See the connectivity and • Assume authentic responsibility;

interaction among disciplines; • Engage in active learning;
• Choose appropriate • Work collaboratively with others and
activities; • Refine their technology skills.
• Examine organizational
• Develop research skills; •
Attack multi-levels of activity
and challenge;
Differentiate the Curriculum

What Is a Differentiated A differentiated curriculum is one

Curriculum? where teachers adapt the
curriculum in different ways to
meet the needs of all their
Why Differentiate Curriculum in the

• Provides access to • Increases motivation through

opportunities for a rigorous
curriculum based on the exploring individual interests and
NCSCS. • Builds relationships with
• Provides opportunities for students by knowing their
individual acceleration and strengths.
• Nurtures self-esteem and
Differentiating Curriculum Helps Students:

• Master core concepts of • Set individual learning

the curriculum; goals and
• Utilize their strengths, • Develop their personal
learning styles, and skills and projects.
background knowledge;
Provide Active Learning Opportunities

What Is Active Active learning is a process in which

Learning? the students are engaged in hands-
on activities rather than passively
receiving knowledge. Students
interact with others to construct
meaning from new ideas and
concepts based on their
background knowledge.
Why Utilize Active Learning in the Classroom?

• Draws upon the pre-existing knowledge that students

already have
• Is essential for idea manipulation
• Enhances understanding through cooperative learning and
• Augments learning through technology tools.
Implementing Active Learning Strategies
Helps Students:

• Engage in higher-order thinking tasks as analysis, synthesis

and evaluation;
• Study ideas, solve problems and apply what they have
• Construct hypotheses and make decisions;
• Provide meaning and organization to experiences;
Implementing Active Learning Strategies
Helps Students:

• Work collaboratively with others;

• Connect real-life work between school and what will take
place in the rest of their lives and
• Address cultural influences and individual learning styles.
Full Option Science System (FOSS)

Program Overview:
• Founded in 1986
• Full Option Science System (FOSS) was created to address
the concern that young students were not being provided
with an adequate science education.
• FOSS is a K-8 program developed at the Lawrence Hall of
Science, University of California, Berkeley.
Full Option Science System (FOSS)

Learning Environment:
• Typical of an inquiry-oriented, interactive approach to science,
the FOSS classroom environment is collaborative, energetic and
fi lled with the excitement of learning and discovery.
• FOSS investigations are guided by questions.
• The students work in collaborative teams to investigate,
experiment, gather data, organize information and reach
Science In Motion

Program Overview:

• Most Pennsylvania high schools cannot afford the modern,

well-maintained equipment that it takes to prepare
students for today’s modern technological careers in
science, engineering and other technical fields.
Science In Motion

The program facilitates systemic change by providing:

• a mobile educator who provides expert support to secondary teachers
in the classroom;
• materials and equipment delivered via a well-equipped van to the
classroom for hands-on use by students;
• regularly scheduled, subject-specific teacher professional development
workshops; and
• opportunities for teachers to work collegially with other teachers and
with college faculty to implement exemplary curriculum.
Science In Motion

Learning Environment:

• Students are attracted to and become actively engaged in

science activities because they are given access to the
types of real science equipment that they see in popular
television shows such as CSI and in science documentaries.
Science In Motion

Learning Environment:

• Students feel empowered by knowing that they are using

equipment that can solve real-world problems and by knowing
that they are acquiring real skills that will be marketable in the
• Students also learn the teamwork skills that they will need in
the workplace.