Comments (7)

Comment RSS

Skype Connects Classroom’s

Was this helpful?

Skype Connects Classroom’s Kids to NASA Scientists for more information
Skype is a company that provides users to call and message other Skype users for free of cost. In spite of these, Skype has launched a best opportunity for educators i.e., Skype in classroom through which more than thirty eight thousand...

President/CEO Institute of Noetic Sciences

Exploring Science through Worldview Literacy

Was this helpful?

How do we know what we know? Where do our beliefs come from? What does it mean to have a worldview? How can we learn to appreciate perspectives that are fundamentally different from our own?

To address these provocative questions, our multidisciplinary team of scientists and educators created and piloted a set of fifteen fifty-minute drop in multi-media modules on worldview literacy. The Worldview Literacy project is an experiential curriculum for middle and high school students that facilitates exploration of the pivotal role that worldview, perspective, or point of view plays in perception, information processing, and behavior. It utilizes several elements of new pedagogy (such as project-based and collaborative learning) that encourage exploration, discovery, and collective learning experiences. It encourages critical thinking, evidence based learning, creative problem solving, communication skills, and cultural competence. Students are encouraged to reflect and share their worldviews while gaining tools for understanding the worldviews of others. Our hypothesis is that participation in this program will enhance academic engagement and improve classroom-learning environments, leading to improved academic achievement.

The dynamic curriculum brings together science, history, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and technology in a pedagogy that invites exploration and discovery through shared learning. Through experiential exercises, students participate in experiments from cognitive science that expose them to inattentional blindness, optical illusions, and other cognitive biases. These immediately and directly engage the students in breakthrough science based in their own observations. Neuroscience, cosmology, and social psychology guide the learning about how our perceptions are informed by our expectations and beliefs.

Through short video interviews, students journey to the moon with Apollo 14 astronaut, Dr. Edgar Mitchell. As an engineer, physicist and systems analyst, Mitchell helps students understand both his outer journey into space and the inner journey of his own experience seeing planet earth as a whole, living system. Dr. Mitchell’s experience brings space exploration to life and inspires and informs the classroom.

In the course of a guided multi-media tour of the cosmos, students interact through a video interview with astrophysicist, Dr. Brian Swimm. The students literally walk through evolution, step by step, in a guiding walking exercise. In this way, they can understand their own place in the evolving universe.

Through a recorded interview with Dr. Dean Radin, students learn about changing models of physics. They review classical and quantum physics and discuss its implications for how mind and matter may interact. A lesson on maps shows the ways in which our models of reality have changed over time, represented through changes in cartography.

Through the worldview literacy project, science is used in fun and engaging ways. Specific optical illusions become active metaphors in the classroom, as one concept builds upon another. Inattentional blindness helps students to stay flexible in the face of new or conflicting information, bringing discussions of fact versus opinion into direct experience. Science itself is seen through the lens of worldview. We discuss how science is both a worldview and a set of methods that inform our worldview, including our understanding of self and the world. Students are invited to journal about these experiences, engage in-group discussions, and to create projects that represent their understanding and reflections. They are encouraged to bring their awareness to thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, particularly when presented with conflicting perspectives or points of view, thereby allowing them to deal with conflict consciously, rather than reactively.

The program is based upon a change model derived from a decadelong study of worldview transformation that identified metacognitive reflection on worldview, self-awareness, and self-inquiry as precursors to a developmental movement towards greater social consciousness and prosocial behaviors (Schlitz, Vieten and Miller, 2010). This lends itself to an organizational framework that can be examined in relation to student and classroom outcomes. We hypothesize that through increasing students awareness of their own and other’s worldviews, and providing skills for effective communication, scientific understanding, cultural appreciation, and systems thinking, students experience greater engagement in learning and improvement of the classroom-learning environment. We are now testing this to see if it leads to enhanced academic achievement. Our preliminary data supports this hypothesis.

Over the past two years, we have developed and pilot tested the Worldview Literacy
Curriculum in schools through the California bay area, reaching more than 1000 students. We then developed a train the trainers program, which we conducted during the summer of 2010. More than 70 people attended, including 20 teachers who are now teaching the program in a variety of settings. Currently, we are in eight schools and in a 15 classrooms, including Sonoma Valley High School in Sonoma, Lionel Wilson Preparatory Academy and the Youth Empowerment School in Oakland. Both students and teachers have expressed their appreciation for the skills that are offered through this program—and the fun way in which they are able to engage in different approaches to the world in which we live. For more information on the work that has been done, go to (

Internet and Society

Without actually

Was this helpful?

Without actually participating in the event as I don't think what I am going to say is exactly on topic:
First, realize that you might just BE a scientist. I am. Tell your kids what you do and why.
Second, COSEE is a fantastic program *if* you can get 1.) a marine researcher 2.) an informal center (museum) and 3.) your own school all together in one room.

The rub curriculum-wise is that marine science is very poorly connected to state science standards even though it is a no-brainer to do.

Go to the COSEE website and find your state co-ordinator. Ask her to hook you up with the designee at your local research institution. It's your job to get the local discovery/science museum to hook up with the two of you. Then throw students in the water and watch them change into strange beasts.

Newton's Laws and Rocket Launches

Was this helpful?

Project Based Learning is now a permanent part of our schools mission. Last April my students were learning about Newton's Laws and in order for them to get a better understanding on how the concepts worked we came up with a driving question and then found ways to answer it. The question was "How can Newton's Laws help me to become an Engineer?" There were many movies, great lab activities from NASA and we even visited a NASA center. My Students also went to an Air Force base and got on the flight line were they saw B2 bombers and many jets, but the best was when we visited Northrop Grumman. We learned about the minuteman missile and most importantly met with several engineers who volunteered to show the students what their jobs were and how they were relevant to Newton's Laws. When we returned to school students made powerpoint presentations that included rocket launching, career choices, and Newton's Laws. Thank you Northrop!

Senior Project Director, American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science

Sparking Interest in Science

Was this helpful?

Thanks, Eric! There are a bunch of clubs with bigger numbers, but this was my favorite.

Asst Professor of Science Education @ UW-Oshkosh

Bob - thanks for sharing. I

Was this helpful?

Bob - thanks for sharing. I think having a big impact on a few students is still a success!

Senior Project Director, American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science

Sparking Interest in Science

Was this helpful?

I direct an afterschool program for middle schoolers called Spark Club, all about “green” energy technologies, like wind and solar power. It’s the afterschool portion of a National Science Foundation project we have here at AAAS called GET SET (Global Education for Tomorrow in Science, Engineering and Technology).

A key part of the program is pairing each school site with a graduate student or post-doc in the sciences. The young scientist visits the school regularly and serves as a sort of teacher’s assistant. One of my favorite sites this year was a small parochial school in Washington, DC. The neighborhood is very low income and almost all of the children speak English as a second language. Most of the parents speak no English at all. The science teacher there is energetic and skillful, but he just started last year, and prior to that the school didn’t have a dedicated science teacher. So the kids had had very little exposure to science of any sort.

The post doc we paired with the school—Megan—is an atmospheric chemist who not only speaks Spanish fluently (she lived in Mexico City for a while), but also grew up on a farm in Nebraska that was off the grid. They relied entirely on solar and wind power! So Megan was ideal.

By some calculations, our Spark Club at this school was disappointing—of 15 slots for the program, we filled only five. By contrast, other schools had waiting lists. But the five girls who signed on were just amazing—especially with guidance from Megan. The program consists of building and testing tabletop wind and solar power generation systems, including basic physics (calculating power generated and work accomplished, building circuits and using a multimeter to test voltage and amperage). This is followed by construction of large scale, commercial wind and solar systems—the sort that would go on a house or boat. The kids also work at an exhibit booth on the National Mall for Earth Day, explaining to visitors what they learned about green energy. The project is capped with an Energy Expo at the school, where the kids host their parents, siblings and friends and teach them about alternative energy technology.

The girls at this particular school had never even picked up a screwdriver, let alone built a power generation system. But they were very excited and adventurous from the first day. Having a woman leading them was a huge plus, as was Megan’s ability to talk to them in Spanish. By the time they attended the Earth Day exhibit, they were experts, eagerly buttonholing passersby to tell them about their work. When we didn’t need all of them in the booth, some of the girls would be allowed to visit the science posters exhibited at other booths, describing work done at labs all over the country. The posters described work published in science journals, and were written in language that was incomprehensibly dense. But they immersed themselves in those other booths, and spent hours visiting their favorites. Somehow, they were communicating with the scientists there.

A couple weeks later, while they were building a large wind system, their multimeter broke. Undaunted, they unscrewed the back, did some troubleshooting, found a loose solder connection, and fixed it with a paper clip!

Through the in-school portion of the GET SET program, the kids were also getting physics instruction in the classroom, and this undoubtedly made the Spark Club activities easier to handle. But I think the energy of their teacher and especially Megan made a huge difference. Even though the girls are only 12 and 13 years old, I’m convinced they will go on to study science in high school and almost certainly in college. That’s what they’re saying, and I believe them.

see more see less

Eric Brunsell Asst Professor of Science Education @ UW-Oshkosh

follow this blogger