These are my notes from a presentation on “Oklahoma Science PDI: Schools Responding to Challenges of the Future” at the 2008 OU K-20 Center’s 2008 MidWinter Conference in Norman, Oklahoma. My thoughts and comments are in all caps. I am recording this session and may post as a podcast, pending permission and time to post this…

Bringing Authentic Learning to Oklahoma Schools through Inquiry Science

Janis Slater is the Science Programs Coordinator for the OU K-20 Center
– she comes out and meets with teachers
– finds out what they are teaching, what’s coming up
– helps teachers plan together, share responsibilities for developing hands-on science activities for different content area items

teachers come to accept “good noise” from “bad noise” in terms of the learning in represented

this is all about shared planning and collaboration

1 FOSS kit per teacher
– we can’t outfit every school in Oklahoma with a FOSS kit
– adoption for science comes up every 6 years, and we want schools thinking about this
– have had some schools go ALL FOSS instead of the textbook

we are like little crusaders out there, you can’t do it all in one year, teachers have so many other things to do
– we try to do integration with you
– integrate reading into science, that can BE reading for the day

You can’t cover all the PASS objectives with 1 FOSS kit, so many teachers borrow and share
– you can teach down with FOSS kids, but not up

example of a FOSS kit with river rocks (2nd grade)
– making observations
– asking them to sort
– introducing a “sifter” (scientists call them “screens”)

FOSS kits reveal how different people process things differently (we see this just in our room right now in this demo)

I am trying to get you to EXPLORE first, and then “hang the vocabulary” afterwards
– scientists have a way they sort rocks into different sizes: sand, gravel, pebble
– next size up is a “cobble
– a gravel driveway is actually a pebble driveway

Idea here: this is a hands-on way to get kids to explore stuff
– kit comes with a great teacher’s guide, funnels

Now making a jump to 6th grade
– we are going to build a mountain, we have small foam landforms
– technically we just built Mt Shasta

Making a mountain with FOSS

now tracing it on paper

Drawing contour lines of Mt Shasta

next we would go to Google Earth

Now folding our paper, lining it up with a graph, and drawing the profile:

Drawing the profile of Mt Shasta

This helps kids understand how a FLAT picture represents landforms in three dimensions!

Kids also do stream tables, mapping the playground, made connections to tsunami damage

Application process for this grant
– school applies rather than individual teachers
– available online next Monday
– every teacher gets their OWN FOSS kit
– choose your technology: smartboards and projectors, danas, problems: $4000 – $6000
– offer 8 – 10 of these grants
– we are trying to get schools to become science communities of practice

Program link: http://k20center.ou.edu/okacts/phase3/k20-science/oklahoma-science-pdi/

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