The Science IDEAS Model: Instructional Principles
The Science IDEAS model is composed of the combination of two fundamental components:
(a) a set of instructional elements that define the different form of instructional
activities used in classroom instruction and (b) a set of instructional principles
that guide instruction. In applying these components, all Science IDEAS instruction
is “knowledge-based” or “conceptually-focused. That is, the science concepts that
are to be addressed across a multi-day lesson are identified. In doing so, particular
emphasis is on “core concepts” or “big ideas”.
Given the concepts to be addressed, planning for instruction involves identifying
a variety of instructional activities for each element, all of which focus on the
concepts to be addressed. Once identified, these activities are sequenced and allocated
to daily 1.5 - 2 hour Science IDEAS instructional blocks. One additional requirement
to the preceding planning process is that Science IDEAS schools work to insure that
a grade-articulated curriculum plan is developed across grade levels. At the same
time, within the constraints of the concepts addressed, teachers have a great deal
of flexibility in implementing the model in their classrooms.
Within the preceding operational framework, the goal of Science IDEAS instruction
is to result in in-depth, cumulative, meaningful learning.
Science IDEAS Instructional Elements
Science IDEAS elements are the activities used for classroom instruction
- Hands-On Science Activities
- Reading Comprehension (with Reading Comprehension Strategy)
- Propositional Concept Mapping
- Prior Knowledge/Cumulative Review
Science IDEAS Instructional Principles
Science IDEAS instructional principles as used as a guide for using the Science
IDEAS elements for in-depth science instruction.
- Use the logical structure of concepts in the discipline as the basis for
a grade-articulated curricular framework.
- Insure that the curricular framework provides students with a firm prior
knowledge foundation to maximize comprehension of “new” content to be taught.
- Focus instruction on core disciplinary concepts (and relationships) and
explicitly address prior knowledge and cumulative review.
- Provide adequate amounts of initial and follow-up instructional time necessary
to achieve cumulative conceptual understanding emphasizing “students learning
more about what they are learning”.
- Guide meaningful student conceptual organization of knowledge by linking
different types of instructional activities (e.g., hands-on science, reading
comprehension, propositional concept mapping, journaling/writing, applications).
- Provide students with opportunities to represent the structure of conceptual
knowledge across cumulative learning experiences as a basis for oral and written
communication (e.g., propositional concept mapping, journaling/writing).
- Reference a variety of conceptually-oriented tasks for the purpose of assessment
in order to distinguish between students with and without in-depth understanding
(e.g., distinguishing positive vs. negative examples, use IF/THEN principles
to predict outcomes, apply abductive reasoning to explain phenomena that occur
in terms of science concepts).
- Recognize how and why in-depth, meaningful, cumulative learning within a
content-oriented discipline provides a necessary foundation developing proficiency
in reading comprehension and written communication.