Creating learning opportunities for students with Science on a Sphere

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Virginia Tech

In many classrooms, teachers are looking for ways to increase student engagement. Disengaged students are not reaching their full potential and experience relatively high levels of anxiety and frustration, which negatively impacts learning. Providing multiple hands-on and problem-solving learning opportunities can increase student engagement. The new curriculum developed for use on the Science on a Sphere provides educators with a resource to create problem-solving learning opportunities in their classrooms by using cooperative learning. These opportunities will help students understand how to work in collaborative groups while learning about and solving science-related problems. The curriculum consists of activities themed around climate change and human health. Additionally, the curriculum has been aligned to the Virginia Standards of Learning. To assess the curriculum, teachers and administrators reviewed, assessed, and provided feedback on the lesson plans and handouts. Overwhelmingly, most respondents stated that while the activities were well thought-out, would be beneficial for increasing students’ learning, and provided problem-solving learning opportunities for students, they would not feel comfortable using and interacting with the Science on a Sphere without first participating in some form of training. Therefore, prior to making this curriculum available to other teachers, professional development opportunities should be provided to teach educators how to use and interact with the Sphere.

student engagement, problem-based learning, cooperative learning, curriculum, standards of learning