“We believe, after examining the findings of cognitive science, that the most effective way of learning skills is “in context”, placing learning objectives within a real environment rather than insisting that students first learn in the abstract what they will be expected to apply.” From the Executive Summary of What Work Requires of Schools from The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, US Dept of Labor, June 1991
“Some teachers believe they are teaching beyond the national science content standards because they are teaching more inorganic and physical chemistry than is explicitly described in the content standards. If they are not also teaching some organic chemistry, biochemistry, and environmental and industrial chemistry and teaching in an inquiry mode, they have not covered the knowledge base of the content standards. They are not teaching towards the same goals.” pg. 10 of the American Chemical Society’s Chemistry in the National Science Education Standards
- Is completely real-world context (not just sidebars and vignettes)
- Introduces concepts in a need-to-know order (which is how scientists work)
- Teaches students how to do inquiry (student-designed labs) labs
- Contains a mix of lab experiences (discovery, confirmatory, traditional, inquiry)
- Is standards-based (including meeting the statements made in the quote above!)
- Engages and motivates students!