George Lucas Educational Foundation
George Lucas Educational Foundation

Encouraging Collaboration With a Scientists Circle

This routine creates an equitable structure for sharing out ideas, questions, or evidence in science class—and helps ensure that every student takes part.

September 27, 2023

Seventh-grade science teacher Nicole Bolduc relies on several routines (many of them sourced from the professional learning organization OpenSciEd) to create a science classroom where every student feels they have something to contribute. One of her most important routines is the Scientists Circle: Students form a semicircle at the front of the classroom in order to share ideas and build on each other’s observations or questions. The result is impressive ongoing collaboration among her middle school students—and true engagement in the science content.

Learn more about the Scientists Circle activity from OpenSciEd’s handbook for middle school teachers. OpenSciEd notes that the design of the Scientists Circle is adapted from previous work done by Karen Worth, Jeff Winokur, Sally Crissman, Martha Heller-Winokur, and Martha Davis in the “Culture of Talk” section of their 2009 book, The Essentials of Science and Literacy: A Guide for Teachers. Discussion goals and talk moves for the science classroom can be retrieved from the Inquiry Project hosted at TERC.

Ellington Middle School

Public, Suburban
Grades 7-8
Ellington, CT

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Filed Under

  • Communication Skills
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Student Engagement
  • Science
  • 6-8 Middle School

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