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Icon for: Scott McDonald

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Refining Learning Progressions in Astronomy and Plate Tectonics

Our project seeks to improve the quality of instruction and student learning in Earth and Space science (ESS). Our approach involves professional development that tightly integrates formative assessment, curriculum development and pedagogical improvement. We focus on developing innovative and integrated methods of research and practice centered around learning progressions (LPs) as a tool for supporting teacher and student learning. Summer workshops for middle grades (4-9) teachers focus on development of curricula and formative assessments based on samples of student work and our emerging LPs. During the school year teachers use these tools to experiment with new approaches to teaching ESS content and video record their attempts. The teacher workshops will eventually incorporate these video records as a source for modified lesson study discussions. We are working with ESS undergraduate faculty to reconceptualize general education courses in Earth and Astronomy around coherent science content storylines.