Science Colloquia for Teachers Emphasizes Active Learning

Windward School hosts a three-day series that pairs university educators with K-12 teachers on new methods of science education.

is hosting teachers and educators from around the United States this week at a colloquium dedicated to the "active learning" method of science teaching, which emphasizes a shift away from the standard lecture format.

Active learning combines group work — either hands-on or with computer simulation and labs — with short lectures and the teacher acting as a facilitator, said Jim Bologna, director of technology and dean of science and technology outreach at Windward School.

North Carolina State University professor Bob Beichner kicked off the series on Wednesday with his active-learning method "Scale Up," which utilizes technology as the key means to engage students.

"I wasn't satisifed with what my students were learning, they weren't enjoying it as much as I hoped they would," Beichner said.

Windward has created partnerships with universities and the colloquia is an outgrowth of that partnership, Bologna said.

With round green balls, graphs and cut-out shapes, teachers completed activities focused on changing the ways students learn scientific concepts. 

"I see these as really great intro activities for what [students] can do in the lesson later," said Russ Glenn, a teacher at University Liggett School in Michigan. "They can get a deeper understanding of what they did with equilibrium, rather than [me] just talking at them."

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