The EBS Store
Visit the EBS
Store and help support the work of the EBS institute. When
you make a purchase from the store, a small percentage of your purchase
flows directly to the EBS Institute. We will be
featuring educational books that support the work
of the Event-Based Science Project, as well as science trade books that
supplement our modules. Visit the EBS
Store to see more products. (Please continue to purchase
Event-Based Science modules directly from Prentice
Hall on their online catalog.)
Story to Share?
The Event-Based Science
concept has been available to teachers for fifteen years. Over that
time we have created 19 modules, an award-wining website, 10
remote-sensing activities, 15 Cover Your Bases activities, and 6
Although reviewers have said
wonderful things about our work, we would like to share success stories
through this newsletter. If you have a story to tell, please send it along
with a picture of your students actively engaged in an EBS activity.
Here is what Mark
Turski Professor of Earth System Science Education in the Department of
Environmental Science and Policy at Plymouth State University (Plymouth, NH) has to say about our
First Flight! module.
things have stirred mankindís interest throughout history more than the
desire to fly. The Event-Based Science series uses the quest for
flight as the basis for the module First Flight! This package of
video, student materials, and teacher support provides a five-week unit
structured around the design and construction of a new airplane for an air
show. It can be used as a whole to support National Science Education
Standards in physical science and technology, or adapted to enrich an
area of a more traditional curriculum.
A video clip of Voyagerís flight around the world provides an
introduction to the topic. The 66-page student edition features background
materials and a series of activities that lead to completion of the major
project. The comprehensive teacher's guide has some background information, a
time line, answers, helpful hints to the activities, black line masters for
handouts, and a resource list. The Event-Based Science website is a
valuable resource in itself and provides a different set of First Flight!
resources that I feel are even more helpful than those listed in the guide.
Students form cooperative groups for their project work: chief aeronautical
engineer, design engineer, safety engineer, and marketing engineer.
Interviews with professionals in these fields introduce these roles, and
newspaper stories from USA Today provide background material.
Interdisciplinary activities from mathematics, social studies, and English
are also included. I thought the writing assignments were excellent.
Assessment rubrics for all the activities are provided for the teacher.
The activities support a variety of concepts: center of gravity, forces,
action/reaction, lift, drag, thrust, and Bernoulliís principle. However,
the specific science concepts themselves are not the strongest point of the
program--because the program is project-based, it stresses scientific habits
of mind, the nature of science, collaborative work, and science process
skills. These are the skills that students need to survive in a world that
requires a higher degree of scientific literacy than ever before.
No science program is perfect, and First Flight! does have its
weaknesses. This is not a program that the average middle school science
teacher can jump into without some training and the appropriate science
background. However, many training sessions are available and are listed on
the website. The news video is poorly edited; it is two news stories from two
different days that looks like a single story on first viewing. The
assessment rubrics need to be more specific in defining the outcomes and the
levels of accomplishment, but a teacher could easily modify these. I also
would have liked to see pictures of finished student projects posted on the
website so that new users of the program could have an idea of what the
finished products might look like.
As a college level science educator I feel that First Flight! teaches
the skills that lead to success in post-secondary science courses. Students
cannot pass the module by divining what the teacher wants; they need to
develop critical thinking, writing, and cooperative group skills. The
integrative nature and the blend of content and process merit serious
consideration from any school district thinking of switching to a
standards-based curriculum. While the module is aimed at the middle school
student, many secondary physical science programs would also find it
what Anne Sywilok of Abington Elementary School, Arlington, VA has to say
about our Fraud! modules.
|Fraud! is a great way to teach chemistry
concepts to middle school students. Rather than using a textbook,
students learn scientific concepts through problem solving. Based on
the premise that students learn science best when they are actively
engaged, the event-based science model encourages students to use
higher level thinking skills to analyze evidence, ask critical
questions, and work cooperatively to solve a problem.|
To catch students'
attention, all of the Event-Based
Science modules begin with video footage of television coverage
of a real event. In this module, students view an interview with a
convicted art forger and then read actual newspaper accounts of
various frauds and forgeries. Working in teams, students play the
roles of investigators who use scientific processes and knowledge to
solve a problem dealing with the verification of a work of art. The
module contains several hands-on activities to teach chemistry
concepts related to pigments, paints, and other art materials. Other
interdisciplinary activities make English, social studies, and math
simulation provides the students with the opportunity to see how
chemistry is applied to a real-world situation. Students become the
investigators, and their product is the solution to the problem. The
teacherís role is to be the guide and advise the students through
the simulation. Assessments and rubrics are included, and students
are encouraged to use the Internet to gather information. The module
has an excellent home page that provides a wealth of information for
students, instructional strategies for teachers, samples of student
work, and even a letter to send home to parents explaining the
module. I recommend this module because it really makes scientific
learning meaningful and fun.
Never Lose Sight of
the Importance of the TASK
I recently observed students as they presented their
TASK from an EBS unit under development. What stood out to me was the
disconnect between the learning and the TASK.
Although EBS units begin with News coverage of a real
event, it is the TASK that gives students a reason for learning the
science concepts and skills in an EBS unit. The TASK is supposed to create
the need to know that drives the unit.
Therefore the focus of any TASK presentation should be on the choices that
were made and how the things learned in the unit support the
Make sure your students never lose sight of this
Event-Based Science Project
If you have questions about Event-Based
Science, and wish to speak to the project director, call
1-301-806-7252, and ask for Russ Wright.
Science Home Page
is published on this web
site four times a year. New issues are posted on or about these dates: September
1, December 1, March 1, and June 1.
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