News at Concord Consortium
Teaching Evolution Readiness
Working with school districts in Massachusetts, Missouri, and Texas, the “Evolution Readiness” project, funded by the National Science Foundation, will teach fourth graders some of the fundamental concepts in biology that are essential to a full understanding of evolution. We will provide students with a virtual environment they can populate with different species of plants and animals. By running the model in fast forward, students can watch these populations evolve and adapt to different habitats over many generations. An expert team of researchers from Boston College will assess gains in student content knowledge and scientific inquiry skills.
Assessment Strategies that Work
“Cumulative Learning using Embedded Assessment Results” (CLEAR) is a collaborative project with the University of California, Berkeley, to develop curriculum and research middle school students’ understanding of energy concepts in science. The National Science Foundation has funded CLEAR to work with four middle schools from the Mount Diablo Unified School District in California. We will follow groups of 1,000 students for two or three years to determine instruction and assessment strategies that help learners develop cumulative, integrated ideas about science.
Improving Secondary Science in Rhode Island
The “Rhode Island Technology Enhanced Science” (RITES) program is a targeted Math-Science Partnership funded by the National Science Foundation to improve secondary science learning statewide. RITES combines world-class academic science and education resources with comprehensive statewide STEM education reform supported by all levels of government and education. Partners include the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, Johnston Public Schools, the Rhode Island Department of Education, Brown University, the Community College of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, and the Concord Consortium. The Education Alliance at Brown will evaluate the project. Partners will develop an extensive series of short courses for teachers to implement effective teaching strategies and researchbased content closely tied to the 64 state standards for secondary science and applied mathematics. The courses will feature guided inquiry using probes for labs, computational models of virtual environments, and software tools that access science databases. Embedded assessments will give students and teachers prompt and accurate data on student proficiency in each standard.
Online Courses for Students and Teachers
Looking for the highest quality online courses for middle and high school students? Check out the Virtual High School (www.goVHS.org) for over 200 courses ranging from Animal Behavior and Zoology to AP Calculus, and Advanced Web Design to Criminology. VHS offers full-year and semester-long courses, Gifted and Talented courses for middle school students, and summer school courses for enrichment or credit recovery.
For professional development courses, try PBS TeacherLine (www.pbs.org/ teacherline). The Concord Consortium developed the Seeing Math™ series of algebra courses for teachers that make use of innovative, interactive computational models for solving linear equations, quadratic functions, and more. Videos of content experts and students supplement course material.