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Pearson's Middle School Interactive Science Curriculum
by Dr. Merle Marsh, 06/15/10

We hear it in the news. America's students are behind in science knowledge and are not opting to take higher-level science courses. At the same time, we know that for our nation to prosper, we greatly need leadership in every field of science. As our students lose interest in science after the elementary grades, they negate their chance to go into a science career. Therefore, it is imperative that our middle school students not only receive a sound foundation in science but that our school science programs fill them with the desire to continue on to higher-level science courses.

Perhaps online courses will be the answer to student motivation and learning in science? Digital programs are being developed that have the ability to individualize science learning while providing resources and interactive activities that should set imaginations to work, ignite curiosity, and excite learning. One of those programs is Pearson's Interactive Science, which integrates write-in texts with online resources.

MyScienceOnline.com is called a "next-generation" middle grades [Grades 6-8] program that makes learning personal, engaging, and relevant to the individual student." It motivates students to learn science so that they will be better prepared for the future and interest in careers in science. The program's 21st Century model lets students write in their science books, making students into scientists and science authors as the "read, write, draw, graph and self-assess all in one place." Throughout the program students are given a big science question to answer, which they solve by using the materials provided and thinking like a scientist. There are hands-on inquiry activities, virtual labs, videos, and games that enhance the text material.

MyScienceOnline features what it calls the 5E Learning Cycle. It's what learning is all about and how master teachers teach. The Es stand for:

  • Engage students
  • Explore concepts
  • Explain concepts
  • Elaborate
  • Evaluate

Students begin their lessons with Planet Diary, a place to explore and blog about issues related to science. They learn from real-world content, visual cues and online tools. Students needing help can log into MyReadingWeb (for changing reading levels) and MyStudyCoach (for extra help with concepts). Teachers are provided with tips for differentiating learning through a teacher's edition, resource guidelines, and an ELL handbook. Understanding that not all teachers have the same teaching styles, MyScienceOnline with its write-in texts, labs and activities, works well for teachers who prefer textbook-oriented lessons as well as those who more are lab-oriented.

You can try some of the exercises and actually, well virtually, write in your answers in pencil.  To learn more about MyScienceOnline, watch the video that describes the program and check the FAQs. You can join Pearson's Interactive Science Mailing List as well.


InteractiveScience


Additional Information

Interactive Science 
http://www.interactivescience.com/

Interactive Science FAQs 
http://www.interactivescience.com/faq.html

Pricing: Write In Student Edition: $75 for the first year. Each year after that you use the program, you will receive free replacement write-in student editions.



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