At Roberto Clemente School, teachers focus on supporting students to read, write, think, and work as scientists. They use expeditions, case studies, projects, problem-based content, collaboration with professional scientists and engineers, and interactive instructional practices to foster inquiry and enable authentic student research. When possible, student research contributes to the school community or broader community (e.g., kindergartners analyzing conditions for optimal growth in their school garden, high school students testing indoor air quality in the school to inform recommendations to the Board of Education).
EL teachers reinforce the connections among science, math, engineering, and technology as they promote skills in questioning; developing and using models; planning and carrying out investigations; collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data; constructing explanations; designing solutions; engaging in argument from evidence; and synthesizing and communicating information. Students learn to be logical in making assumptions, accurate when collecting data, insightful when drawing conclusions, and unbiased when supporting statements with reliable scientific evidence. In addition, because appreciation and stewardship of the natural world is part of the design of EL schools, environmental literacy is integrated into the science curriculum at all grade levels.Science Content
1. Teachers support scientific literacy by focusing on big ideas that cut across all science disciplines (e.g., cause and effect, systems and systems models, structure and function).
2. Teachers use scientific topics as the basis of learning expeditions, case studies, and projects at all grade levels. Topics are often animated by controversial scientific issues or local connections and have strong potential for original research.
3. Teachers structure opportunities for scientific inquiry that allow students to participate in scientific investigations and problem-solving that approximate adult science, including framing questions, designing methods to answer questions or test hypotheses, determining appropriate timelines and costs, calibrating instruments, conducting trials, writing reports, and presenting and defending results.
4. Teachers provide students with a variety of primary and secondary source materials (e.g., trade books, peer-reviewed journal articles, governmental documents). They supplement (or replace) textbooks with rich resources and experiences, including labs, fieldwork, and interaction with experts, to support conceptual understanding.
5. Teachers balance the study of narrow topics with broader topics and concepts (e.g., a case study of local ants is embedded in a larger expedition on classification systems utilized by entomologists).
6. Whenever possible, teachers provide opportunities for students to explore the history and evolution of scientific thinking and innovation as it applies to the topic being studied.
7. Teachers support student appreciation and stewardship of the natural world through experiences, projects, and products that emerge from authentic service learning, not just discussion.
8. Teachers integrate history, government, and science to help students understand science as a social enterprise.
9. Teachers create opportunities for students to collect, represent, analyze, and report real data as a part of science inquiry at all levels.