In order to continue and extend the "cascade effect" of the professional development, the project will develop materials for broad dissemination, primarily via the Internet. The activities to meet this goal will proceed in parallel with the Professional Development activities and will incorporate the experience of the implementation of the materials with Professional Development Specialists, with Professional Development Associates, and with K-8 science teachers.
Under the guidance of the University of Albany (US) faculty and research assistants, the PDSs have been developing concept maps representing the science content contained in the Science and Technology for Children (STC) units. In the process of constructing concept maps, the PDSs have come to recognize how certain key ideas in the units are conflated, leading to the possibility that students might develop misconceptions without skilled teachers who can help them make essential distinctions. Correlating the principles contained in their maps with the New York State Science standards has helped identify science required by the Standards that is not contained in STC units. This information will help teachers add the principles to STC Units at appropriate places.
The concept maps have been presented to teachers, who have found them as useful representations of science content in the STC units. The teachers who have been introduced to the process of making concept maps to date see great potential in map development as a learning tool for their students.
Vicky Kouba, Director | Mary Van Benschoten, Project Coordinator