The world is much more interesting and our lives much richer when we are aware of and understand the scientific principles operating in the world around us. Unfortunately, many students believe that science consists of theories and formulae of interest and accessible to only a limited few. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
I sincerely believe that an understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of science will come to those students allowed to freely explore and question. While it’s true that students can learn about science by watching, listening, and reading about it, they must do science to gain true understanding. Students must engage in hands-on exploration, be allowed to formulate their own hypothesis, and, with the help of the teacher, structure their thinking into meaningful models. To achieve this, teachers must create an environment rich in interactive experiences that allow students to construct their own understanding.
An instructional model that supports student-centered learning is the learning cycle. The learning cycle is a time-tested, inquiry-based approach to science instruction that puts the phenomena first. Definitions, concepts and formulae derive from experience rather than from teacher or textbook.
A variety of teaching resources that support hands-on, mind-on learning – explorations, demonstrations, laboratory activities, apparatus, and sources of materials - pertaining to a wide range of physical science topics may be found on this site. My hope is that you will find these resources useful. Available to schools and teacher training institutions, our workshops are designed to introduce prospective, as well as practicing teachers, to the learning cycle and its application in the science classroom. By experiencing the learning cycle model first hand, teachers are given a taste and feel of an inquiry-based classroom by being actively engaged in the process of discovery themselves.
“Students have to have the opportunity to ask ‘what will happen if…’ They can’t just read. They have to have props to see, handle, and understand what’s happening. Otherwise, teaching science is like teaching swimming but not allowing anyone near the water.”
---Frank Oppenheimer, physicist and founder of
San Francisco’s Exploratorium Interactive Science Center
Science Education Professional Development
with Chris Chiaverina
Discover the Excitement of an Inquiry-Based Classroom