TEACHERS INVOLVED IN THE TESTING OF THE NEW CURRICULUM SAID THAT ITS USE OF MODELS PROVIDED STUDENTS WITH TANGIBLE EXAMPLES OF MICROSCOPIC SCIENTIFIC PROCESSES. | JO ELLEN ROSEMAN/AAAS

Topics: Diversity, Education, STEM, Women in Science

I don't plan on being here, seeing I'd be 99. I wish them the best of luck.

As summer draws to a close, participating middle school students will begin tackling chemistry concepts to prepare them for the rigor of high school biology courses.

Students will engage with scientific ideas and practices through hands-on activities and learn to write clear and concise explanations of real-world phenomena as part of a novel curriculum that the National Science Teachers Association Press is slated to publish in mid-September. The collection of 19 lesson plans, titled Toward High School Biology, will be available for purchase and use by teachers in the United States and abroad.

The emphasis the unit places on writing is particularly appealing to Leah Donovan, a science teacher at Oakland Mills Middle School in Columbia, Md., who participated in early tests of the curriculum and has been using the lesson plans in her classroom ever since.

Donovan said her students’ writing skills have improved as a result of the curriculum’s emphasis on teaching them to explain scientific concepts. Her favorite example of how such skills are built relates to the chemical makeup of the Statue of Liberty.

Students study images of the Statue of Liberty, paying particular attention to the 31 tons of copper sheeting that covers its surface and taking note that it is green instead of brown. They are told that, after years of exposure to the air’s oxygen and carbon dioxide, a layer of green copper carbonate has formed on the statue. Students then explain how the chemical reaction responsible for the statue’s green hue takes place.

Project 2061 Curriculum Takes Holistic Approach to Middle School Sc..., Stephen Waldron, American Association for the Advancement of Science

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