LogoScience IDEAS Project: 2002-2009

Science IDEAS Model
the Role of Science Concepts

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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 basis.

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 student understanding.
  • 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.

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