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Science Teachers Engage in Phenomenon-Based Learning at Local Watersheds

Photo collage of educators collecting water samples for testing

Secondary Science Teachers Engage in Phenomenon-Based Learning at Local Watersheds

On April 18, the AIU's Math & Science Collaborative (MSC) teamed up with Miranda Crotsley, program coordinator with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, to lead a special professional development workshop for secondary science teachers. The offering is one of many ways the AIU's MSC is helping regional educators prepare for the changes in instruction to support the implementation of the new PA science standards, which requires a shift from "learning about" to "figuring out." Phenomenon-based learning activities, which use real-world phenomena or complex problems as the basis for teaching and learning, play a major role in facilitating such a shift.

Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) harness phenomenon-based learning as a learner-centered framework where students select a local environmental issue to investigate and make an action plan to address the issue through advocacy and/or remediation. During a MWEE, teachers provide structure, support, and encouragement as students use their curiosity and creativity to investigate and take action. The workshop helped prepare teachers to offer their students that structure, support, and encouragement in their own MWEE. Participants spent the afternoon at two local watersheds, conducting their own investigations, taking measurements, and testing samples they collected from the sites.