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Issues in Science Education

Download the Syllabus here

Course Description:

Students often love science – the wonder, the experimentation, and the chance to ask and answer some interesting questions. For teachers, science can often be exciting and fun as well, but finding the time, resources, and knowledge to plan for inquiry-based science instruction can be daunting. In this course, we will engage in science inquiry as adult learners

We will examine science as a practice that requires learners to generate and refine knowledge in the light of evidence, to share these according to a set of norms, and to use these explanations of the natural world to take possible next steps. Class events and products will be targeted to developing the comfort, confidence, knowledge and skills needed for elementary/middle school science teachers and teacher leaders to facilitate this type of learning including: inquiry, formative assessment, use of current resources and technology, goal setting, implementation and reflection, unit development, and connecting literacy and science. All K-8 teachers of science can benefit from this course including those who have taken the VSI Best Practices course.  This course will allow a more in-depth look at issues in science education.

During this course participants will:
* Engage in inquiry investigations and process the essential features of inquiry and opportunities for formative assessment.
* Read, reflect, practice, and discuss issues surrounding best practices in science instruction and use current resources to support that practice.
* Develop a unit framework using the UBD/CTS model and resources that incorporates best practices for teaching, learning and assessment, and use of technology.
* Incorporate science and literacy, including science notebooks, to improve understanding of both the science content and address literacy skills.
*Identify a goal you have for improving your instructional practice in science and share the strategies and progress you make during the course.

Required Texts for

Issues in Science Education

·       Harlen, W. Primary Science, Taking the Plunge. (2001) Portsmouth, NH; Heinemann
·       Fulwiler. B.R. (2007). Writing in Science: How to Scaffold Instruction to Support Writing Portsmouth, NH; Heinemann

About the Instructors:

Renee Affolter, is a Program Co-Director for Vermont Science Initiative, teaching courses and mentoring teachers throughout the state since 2003. She has been able to apply her Masters in Science Education from UC Berkeley and her high school and middle school teaching experience to helping teachers improve science instruction in their classrooms. Renee is also responsible for teaching Best Practice in Science Education, Action Research, and Science Assessment courses for VSI.  In addition, Renee works in schools and districts throughout the state providing professional development, science coaching, and curriculum development support.

Karen Reinhardt is currently K-8 math/science coordinator in Chittenden
East Supervisory Union. She has been involved in math/science curriculum
work and professional development for the past 15 years, working in
districts, as a consultant, and on national projects. She is an instructor
for the Vermont Science Initiatives Best Practices course, and  has taught
graduate courses in Science and Writing, Math Problem Solving, and Science