Science IDEAS Model
the Role of Science Concepts
The overall perspective of the Science IDEAS model is that it expands time for
in-depth science instruction in grades K-5 because such in-depth science instruction
results not only in improved student science understanding, but also in improved
reading achievement (see Related References- Science IDEAS Findings).
Teachers implementing the Science IDEAS model plan multi-day science lessons
that incorporate six different elements: hands-on activities, reading comprehension,
writing/journaling, propositional concept mapping, and application (project) activities.
In addition, as part of instruction, prior knowledge assessment and cumulative review
are incorporated where appropriate.
What is important about such teacher lesson planning is that for a specific multi-day
unit, all of the six elements must focus on a specified set of science concepts.
As a result, as long as the focus on science concepts is maintained, teachers are
able to use each of the elements multiple times in the lesson (e.g., multiple reading
materials, multiple hands-on activities, multiple concept-mapping, continuing writing
/ journaling). The result is that students are provided with a logical foundation
to develop an in-depth understanding of the science concept(s) taught by integrating
all of the different facets of instruction they have experienced on a cumulative
In comparison to typical K-5 instruction in science and reading comprehension,
Science IDEAS is an instructional model that is very different systemically.
- When compared to how science is typically taught at the K-5 level, the lack
of adequate instructional time for science results in fragmented instruction
rather than a form of in-depth, conceptually-oriented instruction that builds
- When compared to how reading comprehension is typically taught at the K-5
level, the lack of reading applications that require cumulative learning by
students results in a form of “proficiency” that purposefully excludes the type
meaningful comprehension that is necessary for students to master at the secondary
levels and beyond.
This web-page describes the overall Science IDEAS model, summarizes research
findings, and provides documentation in support of the multi-year, scale up initiative.