1. Jacqueline Miller
  2. http://ltd.edc.org/people/jackie-miller
  3. Senior Research Scientist
  5. Education Development Center
  1. Nevin Katz
  2. http://ltd.edc.org/people/nevin-katz
  3. Technical Associate
  5. Education Development Center
  1. Katherine Paget
  2. http://ltd.edc.org/people/katherine-paget
  3. Senior Research Scientist
  5. Education Development Center

Electronic Teacher Guide: Its Development and Use in Supporting Educative Cur...

NSF Awards: 0918702

2015 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12

Educational research has suggested that a coherent curriculum, one in which conceptual understanding builds over time and content is connected rather than being a diffuse smorgasbord of facts, best supports deeper learning in science and mathematics. Over the past three decades science curricula funded by the NSF have emphasized content coherency in their instructional materials.. Effective science instruction requires the sequential development of core concepts related to the big ideas of a discipline. Concepts need to be presented in a logical progression that builds on prior understandings and connects to other concepts related to that big idea. A coherent curriculum provides teachers with well-designed instructional materials that they can then customize and modify for a wide range of student learning styles and needs. Two related points include (1) the logic of the content in a discipline is important: teaching must make visible to students the emerging and progressive sense of its inherent structure; and (2) coherence lies not only in the sequencing of topics, but also, and more importantly, in the many connections that can be made explicit (Schmidt, Wang, & McKnight, 2005)

In this 3-minute animation, we demonstrate how concepts in a molecular genetics unit can be introduced and connected to each other and the big idea of the unit. Concepts related to the relationship among DNA, proteins and traits are used as an example. The intention of the video is to help teachers understand the meaning of content coherency and how it might relate to their own teaching.

We propose that this animation has potential use as a professional learning tool in two possible ways:

1)A Professional Learning Community tool: Teachers spend time thinking about, discussing, and mapping out different sequences and connections, and then consider activities that connect these concepts and relate them to the big idea of the unit. Teachers then discuss how they could assess deeper understanding of the concepts.

2) An Individual Professional Learning tool: A teacher considers how he/she teaches three main concepts related to a big idea in the discipline being taught and then asks the following questions: How do these concepts relate to each other and to the big idea? In what order should they be introduced? What teaching strategies have you used to help support the connections between/among concepts?

Are there suggestions you have for its use?

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