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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.)

Do You Have an
Event-Based Science
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 other activities. Donald F. Logsdon, Jr., Ph.D., Akamai University

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.

Few 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 appropriate.

Here is 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 connections.

The 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 decisions.

Make sure your students never lose sight of this fact!

Russ Wright
President, EBS Institute

© 2011 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.

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EventS 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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