Kudos to several Sweetwater District physics and chemistry teachers for being selected to participate in the PIRE International Science Grant. The PIRE Grant, an international collaboration between researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Helsinki, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Academy of Finland is available to science teachers to improve the engagement and learning of physics and chemistry.
“We are excited to be part of this innovative approach,” said Melanie Brown, Sweetwater District Science Curriculum Specialist.
According to Brown, there is a high interest in how students’ social, emotional, and learning experiences respond to project-based learning (PBL) designed around new science standards. The Sweetwater science teachers will take part in a series of professional development sessions to be facilitated by experts in science curriculum and education. The focus of these professional development sessions will be to: 1) introduce teachers to three-dimensional learning and NGSS; 2) develop teachers’ understanding of project-based learning; 3) introduce teachers to PBL materials in either physics or chemistry; and 4) modify the materials to fit school/teacher instructional contexts. The project-based units developed will be shared districtwide for future implementation.
The grant and professional development sessions were facilitated at Otay Ranch High by Dr. Joseph Krajcik who serves as director of the Institute for Collaborative Research in Education, Assessment, and Teaching Environments for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CREATE for STEM) at Michigan State University. He has served as the lead writer of the Physical Science Design Team to identify and describe the core ideas in physical science for the Framework for K–12 Science Education and as the lead writer to develop the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).