Reopening: Moving Toward More Equitable Schools

Original Physics Experiments: Illuminating Standards Video Series

Created By

EL Education

Type

Videos

Discipline

In science classrooms across the country students are given experiments to perform; they are told what to observe and how to collect data. Even though learners may be having fun in their science classes, are they truly developing essential scientific thinking skills?

This film features a project from 2007 in which first and second graders at the Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences were given the opportunity to design experiments to answer their own questions about the physical world. Eight years later, two students and their teacher are asked to reflect on this project and speak about the value of learners behaving as scientists, a skill encouraged by the Next Generation Science Standards. This film celebrates the results of their physics investigations and inspires science teachers to create more authentic learning experiences for students of any age. 
This video examines how student work illuminates—and is illuminated by—the following standards: Next Generation Science Standard 2-PS1-2, 1-3, and 1-4.

The Illuminating Standards Project 

In the last two decades of the ‘standards movement’ in American public education, many educators have concluded that ‘teaching to the standards’ and project-based learning are incompatible. Ron Berger (EL Education) and Steve Seidel (Harvard Graduate School of Education), co-directors of The Illuminating Standards Project, wondered if this conclusion was true. Indeed, they speculated that long-term, interdisciplinary, arts-infused, community-connected projects may well be one of the best ways to actually see what state standards look like when fully realized in the things students make in school—to make the standards visible.
Three questions frame the work of The Illuminating Standards Project:
~ What does it look like when state standards are met with integrity, depth, and imagination?
~ How can we use standards to open up and enrich curriculum, rather than narrow and constrain it?
~ How can we use student work to raise the level of our understanding of standards and our dialogue about them?

The Videos

Collaborating with Berger and Seidel on The Illuminating Standards Project, over 30 students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education have explored these questions by choosing projects from the Student Work Archive in the Center for Student Work and considering the ways in which those projects did—and didn’t—meet specific state standards. Further, they examined how the student work illuminated the standards—and vice versa. Many of those students created short films and 13 of those films are presented here.

We invite you to watch these films and we encourage you to use them as the catalyst for discussions with your colleagues about the relationship between your commitment to meet demanding state standards and approaches to designing powerful learning experiences for our students.


Created By

EL Education

Type

Videos

Discipline

In science classrooms across the country students are given experiments to perform; they are told what to observe and how to collect data. Even though learners may be having fun in their science classes, are they truly developing essential scientific thinking skills?

This film features a project from 2007 in which first and second graders at the Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences were given the opportunity to design experiments to answer their own questions about the physical world. Eight years later, two students and their teacher are asked to reflect on this project and speak about the value of learners behaving as scientists, a skill encouraged by the Next Generation Science Standards. This film celebrates the results of their physics investigations and inspires science teachers to create more authentic learning experiences for students of any age. 
This video examines how student work illuminates—and is illuminated by—the following standards: Next Generation Science Standard 2-PS1-2, 1-3, and 1-4.

The Illuminating Standards Project 

In the last two decades of the ‘standards movement’ in American public education, many educators have concluded that ‘teaching to the standards’ and project-based learning are incompatible. Ron Berger (EL Education) and Steve Seidel (Harvard Graduate School of Education), co-directors of The Illuminating Standards Project, wondered if this conclusion was true. Indeed, they speculated that long-term, interdisciplinary, arts-infused, community-connected projects may well be one of the best ways to actually see what state standards look like when fully realized in the things students make in school—to make the standards visible.
Three questions frame the work of The Illuminating Standards Project:
~ What does it look like when state standards are met with integrity, depth, and imagination?
~ How can we use standards to open up and enrich curriculum, rather than narrow and constrain it?
~ How can we use student work to raise the level of our understanding of standards and our dialogue about them?

The Videos

Collaborating with Berger and Seidel on The Illuminating Standards Project, over 30 students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education have explored these questions by choosing projects from the Student Work Archive in the Center for Student Work and considering the ways in which those projects did—and didn’t—meet specific state standards. Further, they examined how the student work illuminated the standards—and vice versa. Many of those students created short films and 13 of those films are presented here.

We invite you to watch these films and we encourage you to use them as the catalyst for discussions with your colleagues about the relationship between your commitment to meet demanding state standards and approaches to designing powerful learning experiences for our students.


Transcript

- Doing this experiments, it really just fueled curiosity in science. Now I’m in the, I’m doing the super computing team challenge and I think where that started was probably in first and second grade.

- [Narrator] In science classrooms across the country, students are given experiments to perform. They are told what to observe and how to collect data. Even though learners may be engaged, and say that they are having fun in their science classes, are they truly developing essential scientific thinking skills? Are they actually understanding concepts or just following directions. Are students really inspired to ask questions when told to follow specific procedures. Are they denied opportunities to grapple with real problems and explore the world in which they live. What could learners do if given the opportunity to explore the answers to their own questions. First and second graders at the Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences, an expeditionary learning school in New Mexico, were given this opportunity. The students produce a book of their own original physics experiments.

- [Teacher] When I started teaching first and second grade, I was very committed to making first and second grade a very child centered and to keep the initiative in their learning. I wanted to share the secrets of scientists with them.

- [Narrator] The K through 12 next generation science standards encourage students to think and behave as scientists by engaging in authentic science and engineering practices. In other words, the secrets of scientists. These practices include planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations and designing solutions, and engaging in argument from evidence.

- [Chintan] Real science doesn’t have an answer at the beginning. That’s why it’s so fascinating. Great scientists are curious about what they investigate. I want my kids to see themselves as scientists and there’s not one child in my class who isn’t a grand experimenter.

- So my name is Kit Willey. I went to Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences from preschool through eighth grade.

- I am Landon Tafoya and I came through SFSAS from kindergarten to eighth grade.

- What I remember about the experience of carrying out my own experiments in the first and second grade is that it really, it allowed you to answer the questions that you found interesting. For me I wanted to study the frequency of sound in glasses of water. I’m just a little bit surprised that I was thinking about that at this age.

- My reaction to what I did for this physics expedition. Honestly I’m impressed with myself because at second grade usually people aren’t writing hypotheses and like conducting experiments. All of it’s here: a hypothesis, materials, data, conclusion.

- We learn by doing and I think that was really great ‘cause then you do that outside of school as well. You think like oh what would happen if I did this and then you do it and you’re like oh that’s how. That’s how that works.

- If you learn general things as a class you all learn the same stuff and even though that’s good to have a basis and a foundation of knowledge, if you go into your own individual projects you learn more about what you want to learn about and what you really, like how you need to learn it. Like you conduct your own way that you need to learn it.

- I joined the super computing team. We’re studying the probability of exo-planets to be habitable based on their ability to retain liquid water.

- Currently I’ve been fascinated in black holes and I’m just starting to learn about things like that but it’s really fun.

- Rather than learning about stuff that everyone’s learning and you’re forced kind of, you get to learn about stuff that’s, that really sparks your curiosity.

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