ERIC Number: ED477801
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Apr
A Structured Professional Development Approach to Unit Study: The Experiences of 200 Teachers in a National Teacher Development Project.
McColskey, Wendy; Parke, Helen; Furtak, Erin; Butler, Susan
This article addresses what was learned through the National Computational Science Leadership Program about involving teachers in planning high quality units of instruction around computational science investigations. Two cohorts of roughly 25 teacher teams nationwide were given opportunities to develop "replacement units." The goal was to support high school teachers in incorporating computer modeling and the complex thinking that goes with it into their teaching. Teams received some initial training, then met throughout the school year to think about the unit they would develop. During the following summer, they met for an intensive, 2-week institute and received more training on software and one-on-one consultation with experts as they developed their units. At the end of the 2 weeks, they shared their unit design and materials with the group, and units were posted on a Web site. Teachers were expected to teach the units during the upcoming school year. This paper examines: unit planning approaches (standards-based units, backwards design units, project-based units, and problem-based learning units); development of a project planning tool; one project teacher's account; and project teachers' reactions to the planning and reflection tools. An appendix presents a computational science skills unit planning and reflection matrix, using a human population studies unit as an example. (Contains 16 references.) (SM)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (84th, Chicago, IL, April 21-25, 2003).