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Looking for strategies to better engage your students in the learning of science?

Interested in new technologies for teaching science?

Intrigued by the call to focus science teaching on big ideas like Earth’s water system?

If you find yourself saying “YES” to any of these questions, you should consider partnering with the Mission HydroSci team!

Mission HydroSci (MHS) is a project that has developed multiple ways of using innovative technologies for helping middle school students learn about the science of water. MHS can serve as a replacement curriculum for middle school science units that cover water systems topics (including water cycle, watersheds, groundwater and atmospheric water). Students learn these curricular goals by engaging with new technologies such as simulations and games. The curriculum is aligned with Missouri Learning Standards for Middle School Science. Specific standards addressed by the curriculum include 6-8.ESS2.C.1; 6-8.ESS3.A; 6-8.ESS3.C.1; 6-8.ESS3.C.2; and 6-8.ETS1.A.

Small groups of teachers and students have pilot tested MHS with positive results. We are now looking for a larger group of teachers to partner with us for exploring how well MHS supports target learning outcomes. These learning outcomes include student content knowledge, argumentation practices and attitudes toward STEM. Our partner teachers will receive support and training for using MHS with their students, reports of student progress and learning, and a stipend. We are still working to complete MHS but you can view an intro video at the bottom of this post.

  • Our MHS project includes two versions of a water systems curriculum for middle school students (more details about curriculum objectives at the end of this note).
  • Version A is a game students will play on Windows or Mac computers and also includes support for learning scientific argumentation.
  • Version B is a set of online learning activities that you will use the learning management system Canvas to implement with your students.
  • Minimum requirements for computers are to have 4 GB of RAM but 8 is highly desired.
  • Both versions will take 10 class periods to complete. The class periods will roughly be used as follows: six days of online learning activity, two days of supplementary class activity for you to lead, the first day is used for pretesting and the last day is used for post testing (more details about testing at the end of this note).
  • We will randomly assign each of your classes to version A or B.
  • You will need to have two classes able to participate and be paid a $1000 stipend. The stipend is to thank you for participating and in return for your completing initial training to prepare for the implementations (approximately two to three hours), collecting and returning to us consent forms from your students and their parents, implementing the 10-day program and agreeing to a post implementation interview and data collection.
  • The technology coordinator (or whomever at the school we will need to work with to qualify and install the computer materials for your classes) will be paid a $250 stipend.
  • You can plan for the two-week implementation to be anytime in the time period between March 1 and the end of school, ideally finishing by the first week of May.
  • The training for you will all be online and will be available after February 15 for you to access at your convenience.

Please email Dr. Laffey letting us know of any questions you may have, your willingness to participate and your answers to the following questions:

  • How many classes would you like to include in the study?
  • Describe each class: grade level, name of course, number of students, as well as any other detail you would like to share.
  • Do you have any experience using the learning management system Canvas?
  • Do you use a learning management system or have other significant technology usage with your classes? Please describe.
  • All procedures of our study require us to comply and receive approval with the University of Missouri Institutional Review Board for protection of Human Subjects. Does your school district have a procedure for approving studies conducted with students?

Both versions of the MHS curriculum are aligned with Missouri Learning Standards for middle school science. The specific learning standards addressed are

Earth and Space Science

6-8.ESS2.C.1 Design and develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.

6-8.ESS3.A  Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes and human activity.

6-8.ESS3.C.1 Analyze data to define the relationship for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.

6-8.ESS3.C.2 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

Pre- and post-testing will be done with an online set of assessment instruments that include measurement of student interest in science, understanding water systems and scientific argumentation skills.

Categories: People, STEMx

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