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Great Conversations Lead to Great Instruction

Great Conversations Lead to Great Instruction

Our climate is changing. Let’s get students engaged and explore the world of science so that they are ready to consider solutions and find hope! Science teaching aims to support students of all backgrounds to deeply understand science ideas. The AST Book Study Project started with creating a professional learning community that explored the Ambitious Science Teaching (AST) framework as a way to prepare students for the future.

In book study, participants explored the Ambitious Science Teaching (AST) framework.

  • Planning for engagement with important science ideas
  • Eliciting student ideas
  • Supporting ongoing changes and thinking
  • Pressing for evidence-based explanations

The book study was a 7 session series from Sept.- Dec., where teachers in K-12 explored how to support better student thinking and create science literate citizens to solve future problems and prepare students for STEM careers.

Building a Professional Learning Community

Building a Professional Learning Community

When teachers were asked , What has been your greatest learning through the AST book study? Here are a few responses that show the power of building knowledge in the professional learning community. Tyler Thompson, a district administrator said, “The transferable strategies that can best support staff to ensure learning is visible in classrooms. Cross talk, teacher talk moves, and the leveled questions that teachers can use to pull evidence of student learning.” Melissa Edrington, a high school science teacher shared, “Teacher talk moves, activating prior knowledge, summary tables, gotta have checklists.” Rumalda Quiroz, an elementary teacher emphasized, “I have learned to make it a priority to make students the center of the learning by using the teaching practices that elicits students’ thinking towards the complex problems for all phenomena posed by the curriculum that includes making it relevant to their own experiences and thinking about big science ideas in the real world.” Another participant said, “I loved talking about the book and talking about having an anchoring experience or event for all kids to access the learning. I loved talking about equity and now my teaching is better because I’m looking at things from a different lens. I absolutely loved the training and learning something new that can apply in other subject areas. I love the idea of asking more questions, leaving students guessing to help build their curiosity.

Many of the conversations during the book study focused on equity of student voice and strategies in the book that support all students. Some of the biggest challenges our current students will grapple with in the future are the effects of a changing climate. It is paramount that we as classroom teachers prepare students with a solid science foundation, so that these challenges can be mitigated with problem solving and evidence based solutions.

Ambitious Science Teaching by Mark Windschitl, Jessica Thompson, and Meliss Braaten