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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 7. Project-based Science Instruction, Afterschool Science Programs, and Community Engagement


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Chapter Overview

PBSI can be implemented in different educational settings. The two most common settings are formal and informal science education. Formal science education refers to science education conducted inside K–16 educational settings governed by local, state, and national educational policies, laws, and regulations. Informal science education settings refer to science education conducted outside of K–16 educational settings that are less restrictive. Examples of informal science education are science education that occurs in the community, afterschool programs, museums, or similar settings outside the classroom. This chapter will focus on the symbiotic relationships among PBSI, afterschool science programs, and the community. The chapter will begin with a description of the purpose and characteristics of afterschool science programs, and how they are connected to PBSI. This will be followed by a discussion of how the local community can be leveraged as a resource and catalyst to promote PBSI and citizen science education. This chapter will end by examining some of the potential benefits and challenges of afterschool PBSI programs and community engagement in such programs. ← 145 | 146 →

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