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Dear Instructor:

We wrote the Course Guide Books and Lab Manuals for several reasons...  

  • Because students need to learn from home due to illnesses/surgeries, transportation issues, and a whole host of other reasons only other teachers understand, you need a way for students to still do real science - not just computer simulations - using materials found around their home.

  • Because of budget cuts, many schools don’t have funding to purchase math and science materials for labs and activities, and teachers need a cheaper way to get learning into the hands of students.

  • Because of the push towards “One-to-One Computing”, “21st Century Skills” and the increased use of technology in the classroom, many schools and universities are abolishing textbooks (including e-texts) and instructors are in desperate need of a holistic curriculum to at least guide them through the concepts. 

  • Because educational research has indicated constructivist learning with foundations in student background knowledge, emphasizing application in their daily life, and allowing for curious inquiry is the most powerful approach to learning with the strongest academic outcomes. Instructors do not have time to pull materials and resources together while also fulfilling their other student responsibilities. So, we have conglomerated our professional experiences into these Course Guide Books and Lab Manuals to give instructors a jump start.

  • Because there is an incredible push toward online learning from kindergarten all the way through PhD programs. Online learning is great in that students can move at a pace appropriate to them, it can be done more cheaply because building maintenance and utilities expenses are not an issue, and because it is considerably more flexible in terms of schedules. However, in math and science, the hand’s-on laboratory investigation component cannot be ignored as the study of math and science is both the acquisition of a body of knowledge but also the acquisition of a process skill set.

The approach to teaching math and science in the past has involved teacher lead lecture and “cookbook” labs and activities. In the early 2000's there was a push for raw “inquiry” labs. This was problematic in that students did not have the background knowledge of content or equipment usage to be successful in designing their own experiments or in safely using expensive devices and potentially dangerous chemicals. That’s why the cyclic approach has been developed in the Course Guide Books and Lab Manuals.  Students will develop content knowledge through their own lens and experiences, followed by a guided investigation to introduce them to concepts and procedures, and concluding with developing their own inquiry experiment based on their curiosity (which in turn promotes personal interest and student engagement). 

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