3956 Views
  1. Susan Kowalski
  2. Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. BSCS Science Learning
  1. Lindsey Mohan
  2. Research Scientist & Division Director, Instructional Materials
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. BSCS Science Learning
  1. Betty Stennett
  2. Science Educator
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. BSCS Science Learning
  1. Catherine Stimac
  2. https://www.opb.org/about/services/edmedia/
  3. Executive Producer, Education Productions
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Oregon Public Broadcasting
  1. Heather Young
  2. Lead Digital Platform Developer
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Oregon Public Broadcasting
Presenters’
Choice

A Medical Mystery

NSF Awards: 1502571

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Adult learners

BSCS Science Learning and Oregon Public Broadcasting teamed up to develop and test a middle school body systems unit designed for the NGSS: A Medical Mystery. Students learn about M'Kenna, a 13-year-old girl who has suddenly begun losing weight. As students investigate M'Kenna's symptoms, they engage in scientific modeling and argumentation to learn more about human body systems and how they work together. The digital curriculum unit is freely available and received high ratings from an EQuIP review. Best of all, students who used the materials were better able to use evidence and reasoning to support claims about how body systems work together. 

Resource:

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Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 4, 2020 | 06:12 p.m.

    Thank you for visiting our video about A Medical Mystery. We look forward to discussing with you some of the many aspects of this project.

    1. What are your thoughts about digital curriculum materials for the NGSS?
    2. What are your questions and ideas about the challenges of offering online professional learning to teachers to support NGSS curricula?
    3. What kind of impact should we expect on student three-dimensional learning outcomes after a single unit?
  • Icon for: Dr. Kimberly Laliberte

    Dr. Kimberly Laliberte

    K-12 Administrator
    May 6, 2020 | 07:42 p.m.

    I am wondering what this digital clip will be used for.  It does illustrate the some level of the depth of understanding the students have developed.  They spoke with academic language and much accountable talk and discussions.

    I would love for there to be online professional learning to be offered.  My teachers have been asking for it.  They would like to implement this curriculum in September in grades 6-8.

    I would predict high engagement and deeper understandings with retention of learning.  This has not been the case with our current curriculum and instructional practices.

  • Icon for: Lindsey Mohan

    Lindsey Mohan

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 08:30 p.m.

    Kimberly, thanks for your feedback. As we designed the materials, we paid careful attention to scaffolding student engagement with science practices - particularly argumentation from evidence and modeling. I think this shows in the video. The teachers used different moves to keep the students engaged in these discussions. This is where the PD and embedded educative supports were especially useful to teachers. The PD experience is being offered by BSCS, and the teacher guide (which is free) includes many educative features too. Visit the BSCS A Medical Mystery webpage to learn more about the PD offerings.

     
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    Judi Fusco
  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 7, 2020 | 10:53 a.m.

    Hi Kimberly - I'll add on to what Lindsey said to mention that the BSCS PD offering is fully online. It's our hope to make supports for teachers to use the materials as widely accessible as possible.

  • May 4, 2020 | 06:29 p.m.

    Love this! The material is so accessible and interesting for middle school, and it is clear why having to figure out a diagnosis using data is important. Really enjoyed the student who had a claim and counter claim. 

  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 4, 2020 | 09:13 p.m.

    Thanks, Joni. The students were deeply engaged and wanted to hear all about M'Kenna and how she was doing. It was gratifying to see students engaging in scientific argumentation.

     
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    Kristin Bass
  • Icon for: Sonia Ellis

    Sonia Ellis

    Instructional Designer
    May 5, 2020 | 09:51 a.m.

    This is great! The students' engagement with M'Kenna and the motivation of the mystery are clear to see. I am curious about the 11-week PD, which is a fantastic degree of support. Did you run into any difficulties having teachers participate for that time span? 

     
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    Judi Fusco
  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 5, 2020 | 10:49 a.m.

    That's a great question, Sonia! Teachers found the PD to be highly valuable. It was adapted from a video-based analysis of practice PD that we've been studying at BSCS for some time. Teacher PD was 7 weeks in the summer and another 4 weeks in the fall as they taught A Medical Mystery. All of the PD was online. In the summer, we met through video conference once per week for 2 hours and teachers completed activities in between to prepare for each week's call. In the fall, teachers filmed themselves teaching the unit and we met for two hours to discuss one or two teachers' videos.

    I think teachers found the PD to be so valuable because we really pushed teachers to reflect on what their students were thinking and the coherence of their instructional practice. When teachers put those two things together, with video of classrooms to see evidence of what is possible and to dig deeply into what students are doing and saying, they come away with concrete strategies to help their students learn more and go farther. Teachers love that feeling of empowerment.

     
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    Kristen Procko
    Isabel Huff
    Judi Fusco
  • Icon for: Leigh Peake

    Leigh Peake

    Informal Educator
    May 6, 2020 | 07:34 a.m.

    First, great video and great project. I'm always impressed with what BSCS puts out so no surprise. Like Sonia, I'm struck by the amount of professional development time. We've always resisted programming PD that is this long and involved but seems like you've been successful and I'm sure it's at the heart of the success in the classroom. Were there incentives for teachers and support from schools/districts? (Not saying the experience isn't compelling all on its own, but curious about the entire structure that makes this possible for them.) 

  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 6, 2020 | 12:13 p.m.

    Great question, Leigh, and thank you for your kind words! The PD was a total of 43 hours spread out across the summer and fall, with 22 hours of video-conferences and the rest asynchronous work for teachers between the 2-hour synchronous sessions.  Because the PD was online, teachers were able to fit it into their busy schedules provided they could attend the 2-hour meetings each week.

    This was a research project, so we did provide participation stipends to teachers for their time and data. Based on comments collected from our external evaluator, we learned that teachers deeply valued the experience. They may have begun the PD with an eye for the stipend, but they stuck with it because they valued the community they were building and valued their learning.

     
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    Judi Fusco
  • Icon for: Kiley McElroy-Brown

    Kiley McElroy-Brown

    Project Manager & Scrum Master
    May 5, 2020 | 10:25 a.m.

    What an excellent resource for middle school students! It is great to see another program that enhances student-driven investigation in biology using technology and real-world scenarios.

    I'm also curious about your online PD structure. Were the sessions self-paced over 11 weeks or was each session hosted virtually by a team member? Was the focus of the PD mainly on the NGSS practices or were you able to integrate content-level / domain knowledge support as well?

  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 5, 2020 | 10:59 a.m.

    Thanks for your questions! We held video-conferences each week for seven weeks in the summer. Teachers had self-paced work to prepare for each week's video-conference. In the fall, teachers filmed themselves teaching A Medical Mystery, and facilitators selected clips from each teacher to discuss during the video-conferences.

    There were two foci in the PD. The first was on NGSS broadly - what are the three dimensions, how do you enact and integrate the three dimensions, and what does it mean for students to become more and more adept at science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts?

    The second focus of the PD was a video-based analysis-of-practice model that we've been studying at BSCS for some time, called STeLLA (Roth and colleagues, 2011). Teachers learn to pay close attention to student thinking and help students develop a clear understanding of a science content storyline throughout the unit.  The STeLLA model and the NGSS are highly complementary, so teachers were able to pull it all together for a rich learning experience.

     
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    Michael I. Swart
    Kiley McElroy-Brown
  • Icon for: Rebecca Ellis

    Rebecca Ellis

    Researcher
    May 5, 2020 | 01:12 p.m.

    This looks like such an interactive and engaging curriculum! I already want to know what is happening to M'Kenna.

    I am curious about the wet-lab portion. Do you provide the materials for teachers, or will they need to get the resources themselves?

     
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    Kristin Bass
    Judi Fusco
  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 5, 2020 | 01:26 p.m.

    Thanks for your question. We designed the wet-labs to use only materials that most teachers already have at their disposal or can access very easily at the grocery store. In those instances where materials might be challenging to obtain (such as the iodine/starch activity) we included a time-lapse video to show what happens. It's not ideal, but if teachers can't get their hands on dialysis tubing or iodine solution, it's a useful substitute.

     
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    Kristin Bass
    Judi Fusco
  • May 5, 2020 | 04:25 p.m.

    Great video, Susan!  Many similarities between your project and TEEMS.  The structure and format of the PD are interesting, as we are heading in this direction.  Having teachers film themselves in the classroom is an especially interesting approach.  Did you have any pushback on requests to do this, or were most teachers willing?  About how many teachers have you worked with in this way, and what are results showing about changes in their teaching?

  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 5, 2020 | 04:37 p.m.

    Hi Beth - yes, our projects have many similarities. I'd love to learn more from your team.

    We worked with 30 teachers in this project. By the time they filmed themselves in the fall, they were nervous but excited. They had already spent many hours together practicing watching video from non-participating teachers, and had learned how to push one another in constructive ways.

    We documented some strong changes in teacher practice and modest changes in teacher content knowledge. You can see more of the details in the resource, Poster of Research Findings, linked at the top of this page. The results show that teachers were better able to elicit and build on student ideas and create more coherent science instruction for students after completing the PD.

     
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    Isabel Huff
  • Icon for: Judi Fusco

    Judi Fusco

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 11:30 p.m.

    Really great video and project!  I had a lot of questions about the teacher professional learning piece, but when I read the earlier posts in this discussion, mine were answered.  I'm going to share this with some middle school teachers I know!  Will there be more opportunities for the professional learning online?  

     

    Your poster is very informative too!  I finally came up with a question I don't see already asked, were there any differences in engagement in students by gender or race? Any differences in learning pre-post?

     

     

    Thank you!

  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 6, 2020 | 10:59 a.m.

    Hi Judi, that's a great question. I think it's incredibly important to make sure that new materials are doing no harm to students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.  We have done some exploratory analyses looking for differential impact of the curriculum on students based on their demographics. We don't see any interactions - that is, the curriculum supports improved learning for all students. This is true for even for the most difficult types of questions - open-ended questions that require students to integrate all three dimensions of the NGSS in their answers. However, we did not narrow any pre-existing differences.  All groups learned more than they learned in the business-as-usual condition.

  • Icon for: Judi Fusco

    Judi Fusco

    Facilitator
    May 10, 2020 | 01:46 p.m.

    Thanks for doing the research and answering the question.  

     

    Below, Kenne asks a question about identity.  I wonder what components might be important to narrowing differences.  It also sounds like you are thinking of new work related to COVID19.  I look forward to seeing where you all go. Such a great project.

  • May 6, 2020 | 01:16 a.m.

    This is an amazing, phenomena-driven curriculum! I love the way it takes a relatively simple story and not only acknowledges M'Kenna's symptoms, but dives deeper into their causes. Let's hope this empowers at least a few young people to seek treatment for their concerns, rather than dismissing them.

    By any chance, do you have any evidence for how students reacted to the "phenomena" or character of M'Kenna? To what extent did her story and concerns keep students engaged through your narrative?

  • Icon for: Lindsey Mohan

    Lindsey Mohan

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 08:28 a.m.

    Thanks for your feedback and questions! M'Kenna is a real person. She and her family engaged with us as we told her story in the unit. The evidence students worked with was based on M'Kenna's medical records.

    While the unit has students primarily figure out M'Kenna's illness, the students bring their own related experiences to the conversation, which is encouraged. The final models that students develop are ones that explain metabolic processes in their own bodies and how body systems interact when they are healthy and sick. These models help the students explain M'Kenna's phenomena, but also their own experiences too. Keeping the work about both M'Kenna and about things that happen to "me" was important to sustain engagement.

    The teachers we worked with on the unit reported high engagement from their students. One group of students was so fascinated by M'Kenna's story that they had lingering questions for M'Kenna at the completion of the unit. We arranged for M'Kenna to answer those questions in a follow-up interview. And happy to report that M'Kenna is doing very well!

     
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    Judi Fusco
  • Icon for: Alison Heimowitz

    Alison Heimowitz

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 09:42 a.m.

    What great project and video! I do not like to engage with technology for the purpose of learning, yet I found myself completely captivated and wanting to solve the medical mystery. This project has me wondering how this type of program could be adapted to teach students about environmental issues from a systems perspective. Have you explored other applications? Hmmm.... you've really got me thinking. Thank you!!!

     
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    Judi Fusco
  • Icon for: Lindsey Mohan

    Lindsey Mohan

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 09:57 a.m.

    Thanks for your comment. The medical mystery program is a blend of digital and in-class experiences. When interactives and simulations are used, they are central to the storyline and designed to facilitate student learning. For example, one interactive has students take a virtual trip through M'Kenna's digestive system to see endoscopy images at different locations. The students could have been given the images on paper, but the interactive gives them the perspective of the endoscope camera which is helpful to orient them to where and how the images are captured.

    Yes, we've used this same design approach to design a variety of curriculum units, including ones with an environmental and ecosystem focus. The Medical Mystery unit is unique in that it's designed to support 1-to-1 classrooms, as well as more traditional classrooms. Not all of our programs are designed for 1-to-1 learning like a Medical Mystery, but the underlying design process is the same.

  • Icon for: Al Rudnitsky

    Al Rudnitsky

    Researcher
    May 6, 2020 | 11:29 a.m.

    Great video and project.  Echoing my project teammates who have viewed it - many similarities to our work in that challenging problems are embedded in an interesting and imaginative story.  I will look into your project.  Very interested in how much direction students are given (vs... say... resources and they decide how to deploy them).  Also very interested in your outcome measures especially if you are looking for transfer in how students approach problems, ask questions, collaborate, etc.  Thanks for sharing.

  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 6, 2020 | 12:29 p.m.

    HI Al, thank you for your questions. I'll respond and my colleagues may also chime in. If you go to the student site (3dmss.bscs.org) you will get a sense of the amount of student direction. Many of the prompts direct students to share their initial thinking (including drawing an initial model to explain what they think is happening), then use an interactive or wet-lab to make some observations, and then use what they have seen in the data to refine their models to better explain what is happening. The activities are somewhat guided. There are boundaries in the interactive learning experiences that focus student attention on key things. For example, the digestion interactive focuses student attention on the quantities of various molecules in each organ of the digestive system, and students are directed to note the patterns in those quantities through space and time (as food moves through the system). It's then up to the students to make sense of those patterns, with support from small-group and whole-class discussions.

    You also asked about our outcome measure. We wanted to see if students could transfer their learning about body systems in the context of M'Kenna's illness to a context in which students are hiking at high altitude. The assessment required students to use three dimensions (knowledge of disciplinary core ideas related to body systems, knowledge of the crosscutting concept of systems and system models, and the scientific practices of data analysis and interpretation) to develop an explanation for why some students had sore muscles while hiking at high altitude, and some didn't.

     
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    Michael I. Swart
  • Icon for: Al Rudnitsky

    Al Rudnitsky

    Researcher
    May 7, 2020 | 11:31 a.m.

    Thanks for the reply. Really like that learners are asked to explain things. Theoriies and explanations are at the heart of scientific reasoning. And I'd love to know more about the assessment. I hope you'll be saying more about it in a future publication. Again thanks.

  • Icon for: Michael Clinchot

    Michael Clinchot

    K-12 Teacher
    May 6, 2020 | 02:05 p.m.

    Hi, Susan!  I love this and the poster is very informative.  I notice so many similarities between the Medical Mystery unit and the OpenSciEd Metabolic Reaction unit; although I do see differences.  I have taught the OpenSciEd unit and I have noticed the change in student engagement and understanding.  Is there a connection between the projects?

     
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    Marianne Dunne
  • Icon for: Lindsey Mohan

    Lindsey Mohan

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 02:23 p.m.

    Hi Michael. Thanks for the comment. Yes! There is a connection between the projects. OpenSciEd based their Metabolic Reaction unit on A Medical Mystery. Several of us designers wrote on both units, so there is a great deal of overlap. The storyline unfolds differently because the Performance Expectations are not an exact match between the two versions of the unit, but the models and explanations students work toward are very similar. And, of course, it's the same M'Kenna!

  • Small default profile

    Mark Bloom

    May 6, 2020 | 07:19 p.m.

    Video looks great. It will certainly help spread the word about this innovative, free resource.

  • Icon for: Lindsey Mohan

    Lindsey Mohan

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 08:17 p.m.

    Good to hear from you, Mark! The team did a fantastic job on the video. Definitely a resource we are proud to share with everyone.

     
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    Catherine Stimac
  • Icon for: Kenne Dibner

    Kenne Dibner

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 07:42 p.m.

    Phenomenal video, and I'm always excited to see NGSS in medical contexts. Super exciting, and I can see a lot of potential across a number of different student audiences.

    It occurs to me that there are a lot of possibilities here for explicitly doing work around building students' science identities - as in, the act of coming up with a diagnosis really puts students in the driver's seat, and it seems easy to help students identify as medical professionals/scientists. I wonder if you've thought about that explicitly and, if so, how do you support teachers in that part of the work? Thanks again for a great contribution!

     

  • Icon for: Lindsey Mohan

    Lindsey Mohan

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 09:17 a.m.

    Hi Kenne, Thanks for your comment! You raise a really interesting idea. We have not yet investigated students' identity development as part of this work, but I agree there is a possibility that the unit could be supporting this. I'd add that there are two kinds of identity development that could be occurring-- one about how students identify as medical professionals/scientists, and a 2nd possibility related to their own identity as advocates for their personal/family health. Thanks for the feedback and raising an interesting question for us to consider.

  • Icon for: Marianne Dunne

    Marianne Dunne

    K-12 Administrator
    May 7, 2020 | 09:52 a.m.

    I really liked your video and the Medical Mystery --I was struck by the similarities to the OpenSciEd unit Metabolic Reactions that we have been field testing and implementing in Boston (like Michael C.) How is this different from the OSE unit? What instructional materials are needed to implement the Medical Mystery unit? Will you have another medical mystery unit for MS students to figure out after they know what M'Kenna has? I also have questions about the 11 week online PD. You referred in an earlier comment about 7 weeks online in the summer--how many online hours during the week was the PD and what else did teachers engage in during the summer PD? Thank you again your classroom videos were very compelling!

  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 7, 2020 | 01:21 p.m.

    Hi Marianne, thank you for your kind words. The OpenSciEd unit, Metabolic Reactions, was based on our work in A Medical Mystery. They begin in similar ways, but ultimately address different performance expectations. The main focus of A Medical Mystery is on the interaction of body systems. The main focus of the OpenSciEd unit is metabolic reactions, including attending in greater detail to the physical science standards related to chemical reactions.

    Teachers spent approximately 3 hours in asynchronous work and 2 hours in synchronous work each week in the summer. The asynchronous work required teachers to read about pedagogical strategies showcased in the teacher edition, engage as learners in the science content, and analyze classroom video that integrates the pedagogical strategies in the context of the curriculum materials. The synchronous (video-conference) sessions pulled forward teachers' ideas from the asynchronous work  for deeper discussion.

  • Icon for: Jennifer Ward

    Jennifer Ward

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 7, 2020 | 10:55 a.m.

    Well now I'm curious and want to solve this mystery! I love that there's a real purpose (solve the mystery) needing to know about the different body systems, instead of learning about the systems in isolation of each other. I was also impressed at the length of time that teachers were trained to be able to carry out the facilitation of the M'Kenna investigation.

    I did a search for presenters from Oregon, and I'm curious how OPB (I love OPB!) contributed to the project. 

  • Icon for: Catherine Stimac

    Catherine Stimac

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 11:37 a.m.

    Thanks for your question, Jennifer! Oregon Public Broadcasting works with BSCS Science Learning to design media elements for the course materials.

    For A Medical Mystery, we filmed a subset of teachers teaching the course to their students and these videos along with transcripts are used for the PD and are available on the A Medical Mystery website as part of the online professional learning course. We also developed the interactive learning experiences, the animations and illustrations.

  • Icon for: Jennifer Ward

    Jennifer Ward

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 7, 2020 | 11:56 a.m.

    What an awesome pairing! Thanks for the info. :)

     
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    Catherine Stimac
  • Icon for: Sunni Newton

    Sunni Newton

    Researcher
    May 7, 2020 | 11:36 a.m.

    This is a great project and I enjoyed learning about it in your video. I am especially impressed by your work creating an authentic assessment to measure whether the skills and content taught in the medical mystery unit transferred to a different context. 

  • Icon for: Catherine Stimac

    Catherine Stimac

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 11:40 a.m.

    Thank you, Sunni.

  • May 7, 2020 | 12:02 p.m.

    How does the Medical Mystery use technology? Is it working for remote learners? We are interested in how teachers are using these materials in the COVID pandemic.

     

    Marcia

     

  • Icon for: Catherine Stimac

    Catherine Stimac

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 01:03 p.m.

    Hi Marcia, I think your question about the use of technology is more about what platform is used to distribute and manage the course rather than the media components. Correct?

    BSCS developed a set of additional supports for teachers that includes tips for reframing the resource for online instruction during COVID-19. As far as how teachers are using the materials, my colleagues at BSCS will comment shortly.

  • Icon for: Lindsey Mohan

    Lindsey Mohan

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 01:21 p.m.

    Hi Marcia. While the materials are offered to students and teachers digitally (think 1-to-1 classrooms), so much of the learning in the unit occurs through face-to-face collaborative sensemaking activities. For example, the modeling work in the unit requires students to develop their own models, compare their models to their peers' models, and to argue from evidence as the class works toward consensus models. The unit was designed to do this part of the work assuming in-class, face-to-face instruction. We've been working with teachers familiar with the unit to provide additional guidance for how to recreate some of those collaborative sensemaking experiences in an online format using additional digital tools. The fact that the materials are offered digitally gives us a bit of a leg up, but we are still trying to figure out how to recreate (to some degree) the rich discussions, driving question board, modeling and argumentation work, (among other things) in an online space. 

     
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    Judi Fusco
  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 7, 2020 | 01:31 p.m.

    Hi Marcia - that's an excellent question. I'll build on to what Lindsey said. A Medical Mystery is a digital curriculum designed for face-to-face classrooms. That said, it is uniquely positioned as a digital curriculum for teachers to use in this time of online instruction. Several of our field test teachers have attempted to use it as such. There are elements that are fairly easy to implement, such as opportunities for students to share their initial ideas. Teachers are using a variety of approaches to handle this component (Google Classroom is one). Students can also engage with interactive learning experiences and animations on their own - but these resources tend to require small group and whole class discussions to help students get the most learning out of the media. It is the small group and whole class discussions that are most challenging. Some teachers host whole class video conferences, others are using whole class document discussions (e.g., shared Google Doc).

    The teachers who have shared their experiences with us tell us that their efforts are moderately successful. It is certainly not as effective as face-to-face instruction, but is better than much of what passes for online science instruction these days.

     
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    Judi Fusco
  • May 9, 2020 | 12:17 p.m.

    Obviously COVID has many of us thinking about remote learning! The challenges you note are temporary, I think. Possibilities are opening up!

    As you note, you have a "leg up" given that you have teachers vested in the program, trained, and used to facilitating conversations. Similarly, as a society we've all been given a boost (shove, really) toward embracing technology. As we continue to master "the basics" of online functioning, everyone's attention WILL be able to shift challenging/extending the technologies to work with slightly different audiences or for different purposes. As one example, Zoom can be used as a single meeting area or can include breakout rooms of different student groups working...the teacher pops in and out of just like would be done in a real classroom. Such an approach allows students to verbally communicate and share one student's screen (either program materials or their notes as assigned notetaker....on google docs, a spreadsheet program or word processing program, an art app or a notability note) or all view a shared google doc where they are documenting their discussion.

    (There are MAJOR equity and other issues to all of this, but I think more of society now recognizes those, so I'm hopeful those too will change more rapidly than we could have ever hoped.)

     
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    Judi Fusco
  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 11, 2020 | 11:26 a.m.

    You make some excellent points, Mari. I think with time, online instruction will definitely improve as teachers and PD facilitators learn more about matching specific types of interaction with the tools that support those interactions.

  • May 7, 2020 | 07:33 p.m.

    Your work is impressive and inspiring! It is also very timely. How do you recruit students and teachers to participate? 

  • Icon for: Catherine Stimac

    Catherine Stimac

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 07:59 p.m.

    Thanks, Karletta! BSCS does most of the recruitment. Some is done through their vast listserv (with a focus on subject and middle school interest), but some recruitment is done via hands on research. We reach out through emails and calls to teachers and students from high-needs areas around the country. For the PD videos that OPB filmed, we worked with teachers in Sacramento, CA, Chattanooga, TN, Ramsey, NJ, and Kirkland, WA. For the teachers who participated in the PD and filmed in their own classrooms, we have representation across the country. 

  • Icon for: DeeDee Wright

    DeeDee Wright

    Graduate Student
    May 8, 2020 | 12:38 p.m.

    Thank you for continuing to develop great inquiry materials! I like the mix of online and hands-on work for all levels of learners.

  • Icon for: Catherine Stimac

    Catherine Stimac

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 01:09 p.m.

     Thank you, DeeDee. We strive to get the balance right, adding media related materials only when it supports or enhances what is being taught.

  • May 8, 2020 | 02:06 p.m.

    This is great and looks very engaging for both students and teachers.  These were always my favorite computer-based type interventions back on Apple IIe's back in the day.  

    Can you expound on the comparison study highlighted in the video demonstrating transfer?  What were the criterion of the open-ended assessment? How were they evaluated? And can you highlight features of your intervention that you think account for the differences compared to the control? 

  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 8, 2020 | 03:19 p.m.

    Hi Michael, thank you for your kind comments.  We conducted a quasi-experiment (cohort-control design with teachers participating over two school years: comparison students in year 1, treatment students in year 2).

    The assessment included a mix of multiple choice and open-ended items. We designed the assessment following the work of Harris, Krajcik, Pellegrino, and McElhaney (2016). The students were given an assessment phenomenon unrelated to the M'Kenna storyline. In the assessment, students read about a group of middle school students from all over the U.S. who went hiking at high altitude. In scoring the open-ended assessment items, we looked for students’ integrated use of three dimensions related to the performance expectation: disciplinary core ideas related to body systems, science and engineering practice of analyzing and interpreting data, and the crosscutting concept of systems and system models. Students had to put all the pieces together in a coherent response for full credit.

    Regarding differences between the treatment and comparison group that may account for the difference – we can’t overlook the fact that we may be seeing an opportunity gap. Students using our unit had opportunities to learn some critical ideas that other students did not have. We think it is rare for middle school science teachers to push students to think beyond identifying the name and function of each body system to thinking more critically about how body systems interact. Students working with A Medical Mystery developed their own models to explain how a problem in one body system can lead to symptoms in other body systems. This type of thinking (analyzing data and interpreting that data in terms of both disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts) is something our unit addressed, and I suspect most of the comparison units (business as usual) did not address.

     
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    Judi Fusco
  • Icon for: Alison Heimowitz

    Alison Heimowitz

    Facilitator
    May 8, 2020 | 10:32 p.m.

    Can you tell me a little more about what prompted the development of this amazing curriculum? What need was being addressed? Thanks for sharing!

  • Icon for: Betty Stennett

    Betty Stennett

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 10:12 a.m.

    Thank you, Alison, for your questions. When this project first began, there was a need for high quality instructional materials that created instructional environments that promote teaching and learning at the nexus of the three dimensions of the NGSS. And this need still exists today although there are programs emerging that address this need. We set out to create both curriculum and PD as essential leverage points for facilitating change within middle school classrooms. We also knew that a curriculum that was online and and featured interactive and engaging digital supports for students to understand the complex interactions of body systems was the way to go.

    BSCS has studied the STeLLA PD program for several years and we also saw the need to bring this type of PD to middle school teachers and to test the traditional face to face PD in a more affordable online delivery format. We set out to test the combination of high quality instructional materials designed for NGSS with support of an effective PD framework in order to support teachers in bringing the three dimensional teaching and learning described by NGSS and the Framework.

     
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    Susan Kowalski
  • Icon for: Elizabeth Edmondson, Ph.D.

    Elizabeth Edmondson, Ph.D.

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 10, 2020 | 06:00 p.m.

    Sue- Great Unit. I wish we had body systems in our science curriculum.

  • Icon for: Betty Stennett

    Betty Stennett

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 10:13 a.m.

    Great to hear from you, Elizabeth! I, too, wish the curriculum matched your state standards.

  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 11, 2020 | 11:49 a.m.

    Thanks, Elizabeth!

  • Icon for: Paul Bergeron

    Paul Bergeron

    Researcher
    May 11, 2020 | 05:12 p.m.

     This is a great unit that you've developed! I really liked how the potential for this has for breadth across each of the dimensions of 3DL. It's not quite the same as we're working at the college level, but having a curriculum like this is definitely something we've noticed as being hugely beneficial to achieving lasting change.

    As for student outcomes after a student unit... I might expect to see the usage of practices in other situations, not merely the unit of bodily systems. That's a bit tricky as it opens up issues with transfer, but just focusing on a practice rather than all the dimensions should be more doable than transfer of core ideas.

     
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    Catherine Stimac
  • Icon for: Betty Stennett

    Betty Stennett

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 10:17 a.m.

    Thank you Paul! It was nice to see the connection between our work and yours from your video. Active learning at the college level along with the emphasis your project puts on doing science by having students engage in practices to learn the content is certainly a gateway to the type of teaching and learning promoted by NGSS. This is also the type of teaching and learning that is built into A Medical Mystery.

  • Icon for: Christopher Soldat

    Christopher Soldat

    K-12 Administrator
    May 12, 2020 | 01:59 p.m.

    Can I download this video and share with the Middle School teachers I work with?  I am a science consultant in Iowa and this is great example of phenomenon centered teaching and learning for my administrators and teachers to watch.

  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 12, 2020 | 02:07 p.m.

    Thanks for your question, Christopher. You can share the link to this video through this site indefinitely (https://videohall.com/p/1674). The video is also available on our BSCS web site (https://bscs.org/amedicalmystery). Finally, longer videos (dozens of them) are available in the free teacher's edition of the course. Teachers need only visit bscs.org/amedicalmystery to sign up for a free registration code for the TE.

  • Icon for: Amanda Gunning

    Amanda Gunning

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2020 | 02:52 p.m.

    This is great! Engaging, phenomena-driven 3D units for MS are in high demand in our area as teachers begin to adopt the new NGSS-aligned state standards. I am excited to learn more about it and share with my teachers! I signed up on your website :)

  • Icon for: Betty Stennett

    Betty Stennett

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 03:04 p.m.

     Thanks Amanda! We have had many testimonials from teachers about their students' engagement through the entire unit. Please share this video link and the link to information about the curriculum and to the curriculum itself at https://bscs.org/amedicalmystery.

     
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    Amanda Gunning
  • Icon for: Amanda Gunning

    Amanda Gunning

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2020 | 03:07 p.m.

    Great! Thanks!

  • Icon for: Viviana Vazquez

    Viviana Vazquez

    May 12, 2020 | 06:04 p.m.

    This is such a great unit! I love the fact that it is both engaging and inquiry based. I can see students greatly benefiting from this and not only building upon their knowledge of body systems, but also strengthening the way they approach open ended questions. Thank you for sharing!

  • Icon for: Susan Kowalski

    Susan Kowalski

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist & Division Director, Research
    May 12, 2020 | 06:09 p.m.

    Thanks for your kind words, Viviana! Students definitely enjoyed themselves as they learned.

  • Icon for: Catherine Stimac

    Catherine Stimac

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 07:50 p.m.

    Thanks all for your comments and questions! Wonderful to see all of the great work!

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