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Teaching Science for Understanding - Project-based science instruction (PBSI) Project-based science instruction is the only instructional method that makes science classrooms function like mini experimental stations, research laboratories and scientific agencies. Teachers in a project-based science classroom, act as facilitators, mentors, resource persons, advisers, scientists, listeners, learners and leaders in the science classroom. They work with students to identify projects that they are interested in and create learning environments that allow them to gather resources, plan, implement, evaluate and report on their projects. Project-based science instruction (PBSI) is the only instructional approach that places full responsibility for learning on the student. This means that students decide what to learn, how to learn, the time required to learn, and how to document and report their own learning.
For instance, suppose a science teacher wanted to teach a specific science subject, theme or topic using PBSI, how should s/he go about doing it? Below are some concrete steps that could be followed: 1.Introduce the students to the PBSI approach. 2.Explain the expectations of PBSI such as students taking responsibility for their own learning and the teacher serving as facilitator, mentor and resource person. 3. Emphasize that collaboration is a must in PBSI. This is because most scientific investigations require collaboration in tasks such as fieldwork, instrument development and testing, and collection of data. 4.Discuss the advantages as well as the disadvantages of working in groups. Note that as they work in groups, they will have to complement each others and take collective responsibility.
Divide the class into small manageable groups. Tell students that they will be working in their groups throughout and as young scientists they will be required to work collaboratively and to divide the responsibility among themselves Explain that each group is required to identify a question that they will investigate within a specific subject, time frame, resources and context. They will have to learn as much as possible because at the end of the their projects, each one will teach one. WORK PLAN
During the presentation, encourage the groups to evaluate each others research question. Ask each group to brainstorm and come up with a research plan. Research plans should include research question, procedure, tools and materials required, time required to complete project, roles and responsibilities. Plans should also include how students will assess and provide evidence of their own learning from their projects.
Discuss with the students a collective timetable in which to begin and complete their projects. Identify specific periods and times that products will be due. Identify periods and times for whole class work and individual group work. Discuss the importance of meeting deadlines and completing their work on time. Ask each group to implement its research plan. This will include identifying and selecting instruments and tools, collecting and recording data.
Monitor, mentor, advise, assist and facilitate group activities and keep a mental record of each groups progress. Discuss the basic methods of analyzing quantitative and qualitative data. Ask students to analyze their data and prepare reports or posters. Discuss the protocol of presentation and criteria that will be used for evaluating project reports.
Implementing PBSI requires time in terms of instructional planning, scheduling activities, developing collaborative relationships, implementing activities, supervising students team work, assessing students projects and learning to use technology appropriately. PBSI demands that resources be made available for students to carry out the projects of their choice. This means that tools, materials, equipment, hardware and software must be available to all students. Finally, PBSI requires students to conduct extended projects, which means sometimes doing work outside of school.
The Museum of Light 1-st stage - 5 min Revising the previous chapter - Optics In order to do that, the students made researches during 2 weeks working in teams for final presentation.
2-nd stage – 10 min The groups were given same task: students have to make they own museum on the following topics: reflection/refraction of the light, mirrors, rainbow, optical tools. They set up their presentations as museum of light.
3-rd stage – 25 min Eeach group has to name a leader to present the content of their own museum and to explain the Physics phenomenon. For each presentation the students used posters, experiments or PPT presentation
4–th stage – 10 min Conclusions. Talk about the activities.