Curriculum Development Projects


Betsy: pushes and pulls
Cara: microbial growth on different surfaces
Carla: sounds of different materials
Denise: molecular geometry
Dionne: reflections in bubbles
Francesca: science of baseball bats, aluminum vs wood
Henrietta and MaShonda: wind turbines
Jeffery: egg drop into different viscosity liquids
Judy: sinking and floating
Julia: keeping things cold (or hot)
Kathy: AFM
Makia: properties of water and handout
Mark: tasty solution
Sarah: carnations and dyes with handout
Curriculum Development Project Description
This project should take a minimum of 5 hours research and preparation time outside of class. You can work in groups of 2-3, ideally grouped by grade level you teach.It can be a lesson in any subject area (math, reading, science, history, etc), but must include materials science and inquiry concepts. You can modify an existing lesson to include these things, but you must provide something new.
Write a lesson plan for a particular grade level (or range if appropriate for your teaching).
-Give objective/ goal
-Identify appropriate standards
-Link to prior knowledge
-Materials List
-Detailed Instructions 
-A summary of what worked/ didn't work well (if you tried it with students) or ideas for extension with more resources, time, etc.
Give an ~10 minute presentation on your lesson plan. This could include an interactive portion for the whole class. 
All lesson plans will be submitted in electronic form to me (bushm AT uchicago DOT edu) and shared with the rest of the class via this website. 
An example: For the lower elementary grades, one of the most successful units developed by a former student (2nd grade) centered around concrete/ cement. One of her student's fathers worked in construction, specifically pouring concrete. He was invited to give a presentation about his job and also to talk to the class about how to make the best concrete. In preparation for the visit, her students explored their neighborhood looking at different kinds of cement/ concrete with a magnifying glass and guessing its composition. They also made a sample of concrete in class to take home. When the father visited, the students had tons of great questions, astute observations, and the whole event was a huge success. 


Criteria for Inquiry (directly from Exploratorium Parachute Activity)

1. Involves learning through direct interaction with materials  

2. Investigations start from learner's ideas or questions  

3. Requires the use of process skills

  • Observing (collecting, measuring, and comparing evidence )
  • Hypothesizing
  • Planning (including prediction)
  • Interpreting
  • Communicating

4. Requires discussion with others, working cooperatively and sharing ideas  

5. Allows multiple points of access  

6. Facilitates development of 'big ideas' 

7. Level of understanding is appropriate to the learner's development  

8. Leads to further investigations  

9. Requires learner to reflect critically  

 Necessary but not sufficient  

10. An appropriate variety of materials in sufficient quantity  

11. Simple and safe equipment that the children can use themselves  

12. Relevant to children's experience, of all cultural backgrounds  

13. Interesting and intriguing to children  

14. Time to allow messing about before more ordered investigations  

15. Directions for getting started are clear

Our List generated in class:
-real world connection
-start with a question
-link to prior knowledge
-hands-on exploration followed by concepts
-identifying what you expect to learn
-pre-activity or question
-pre and post-assessment
-tools for measuring
-opportunities for extending the activity