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Purposeful Engagement in Science Learning

The Project-based Approach

Kabba E. Colley

Purposeful Engagement in Science Learning provides a blueprint of how teachers and their students can engage in science learning that mirrors the way science is practiced. It is written for K–16 science educators as well as those in the informal science education sector. The framework for this book is based on the project cycle, which is consistent with the process of scientific inquiry. Chapter One reviews the historical, philosophical and psychological foundations of project-based scientific inquiry (PBSI) and the evolution of this approach in the U.S. Chapter Two examines and synthesizes the research on PBSI. Chapter Three explores how to plan PBSI and offers practical strategies for veteran and novice science educators alike. Chapter Four presents different strategies for implementing PBSI with particular emphasis on factors to consider, including the roles and responsibilities of teachers and students. Chapter Five provides selected case histories of successful PBSI. Chapter Six deals with the different methods of evaluating and assessing students’ learning in PBSI environments and provides examples of performance-based assessments suitable for evaluating students’ learning. Chapter Seven examines the relationship between PBSI, after-school programs and community involvement. Finally, Chapter Eight identifies and describes relevant resources that could be used to support and enhance PBSI. This book is organized in a way that allows science educators to address the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), while at the same time, helping students learn science in ways that are relevant to their lives.
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Chapter 4. Implementing Project-based Science Instruction

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IMPLEMENTING PROJECT-BASED SCIENCE INSTRUCTION

Chapter Overview

This chapter will describe the six strategies of implementing project-based science instruction: (1) teacher-centered, (2) student-centered, (3) one teacher-one classroom, (4) multiple teachers-multiple classrooms, (5) teacher-student-scientist partnership, and (6) extracurricular activity (i.e., PBSI clubs/societies and afterschool programs). It will discuss microcomputer-based laboratories tools as resources for supporting students’ project work. The chapter will also cover techniques and procedures for collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting different types of data that students typically encounter in project-based science classrooms.

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