Model for development of laboratory and classroom instructional materials
Project staff employ the Dick and Carey instructional materials development model (Dick, W. & Cary, L. 1990) to develop activities. The development of each activity begins with the identification of an instructional goal or goals. Performance objectives are constructed for each goal that includes student entry behaviors and skills required for successful completion. Criterion referenced assessment items are developed for each objective and project staff review and select the most appropriate instructional strategies to accomplish the objective. A materials development cycle is followed by field tests of selected activities. Successive cycles of evaluation initiate revisions and leads to final development of the materials.
An enhanced Dick and Carey protocol shape the laboratory protocols. The Baliga Group includes two additional steps prior to a field test. The first step is use of a scientist’s protocol by high school teachers. Teachers subsequently revise the protocol by incorporating their knowledge of the high school laboratory environment and their deep knowledge about students. The revised protocol undergoes cycles of testing and refinement until it reaches draft status. Draft status occurs when teachers are satisfied about its efficacy in the classroom. In the second step high school students complete the revised protocol while being observed the teachers. Feedback from teachers and students are incorporated into the final protocol. The draft protocol is now ready for field-testing in selected classrooms.
A third review of the draft materials is accomplished during a professional development workshop where the district’s high school life science staff is introduced to the new materials. Project staff model each activity for classroom teachers. The classroom teachers experience the activities from their students’ viewpoint and provide feedback about their effectiveness. Any needed revisions are completed prior to implementation in classrooms.
Project staff devote particular attention to teachers’ conceptual development during the workshop. The materials contain relatively new or advanced ideas and techniques and necessitate instructional sessions on biological networks; informatics and systems approach to biological research. Content updates are presented for classroom teachers during the workshop. Teachers’ up to date conceptual understanding of today’s biology impacts contributes to effective use of the new instructional materials with their students.
Instructional Materials Design Specifications
The project's partners have designed instructional materials to satisfy Washington State's new Science Standards. The materials are served on curriculum web and integrate today's science practices during concept development.
The modules also satisfy National Education Standards as well as Washington's GLEs. For example, during the Ecological Networks module, in the Great Salt Lake Case Study students are asked to develop testable questions (GLE 2.1.1) synthesize a revised scientific explanation for their experimental data (GLE 2.1.3) and report on the scientific investigation (GLE 2.1.5). Conceptually students are provided with an opportunity to understand GLE 1.3.10 (analyze factors that affect organisms in ecosystems), GLE 1.3.9 (analyze the scientific evidence used to develop the concepts of differential survival) and GLE 3.2.4 (analyze human activities effects on biological diversity). During the Introduction to Networks activities student analyze how models are used to investigate systems (GLE 2.1.4) and how systems function (GLE 1.2.1).
Today's science practices are integrated into each module to launch students' understanding of GLE concepts. Each module's overarching concepts are incorporated into a network where systems approaches can be applied. Students are asked to design an ecological network for the Great Salt Lake's (GSL) biotic and abiotic factors. The network graphically illustrates their hypothesis for differences between the Northern and Southern arms of the GSL. In subsequent activities students design an inquiry to test the network's nodes and edges. Data from the inquiry is used to redesign the network improving the validity of the model. Each module integrates technology to enhance the understanding of the module's concepts. Students use Cytoscape, and open source software designed at the Institute for Systems Biology, in the Ecology module to begin their understanding of networks. Students extend their capabilities on this software by using it to design ecological networks including their GSL network. In each module students complete a scientific inquiry to build understanding of the scientific concepts. In this module testing the validity of the ecological network enables understanding of the dynamic nature of the environment and its effects on species diversity. The forward thinking concepts of P4TM (predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory) medicine will raise students understanding of biomedical research initiatives.
The modules are free for all to use online. Coding the instructional activities, teacher's guide, assessment and instructional masters in html format results in an electronic textbook, facilitates revisions and dissemination.