Scientific inquiry and nature of science provide a meaningful foundation for the learning of subject matter, not to mention their inclusion in the Illinois Learning Standards. Current national and state reforms stress student understanding of scientific inquiry and nature of science, yet these skills and concepts are difficult for teachers to incorporate into the classroom without understanding the development of scientific knowledge and support for translating their knowledge into effective instruction and assessment. As participants from the first four years of the project can attest, Project ICAN empowers teachers to do just that.
Project ICAN Goals
- Development of teachers' understanding of critical unifying science concepts and processes as specified in the Illinois Learning Standards and the National Science Education Standards (e.g., systems, evidence, models, change, constancy, scale, evolution, form and function) including scientific inquiry and nature of science.
- Development of teachers' pedagogical knowledge and skills related to scientific inquiry and nature of science (e.g., the ability to plan, implement and assess instructional activities that communicate the aspects of nature of science and scientific inquiry);
- Support for teachers in designing inter-disciplinary, inquiry-based curriculum that connects science content with mathematics and technology;
- Development of teachers' ability to improve students' understanding of nature of science and understanding of and ability to perform, scientific inquiry.
- Development of teachers' ability to improve students' integration of their knowledge of scientific inquiry and the nature of science with understandings of standards-based scientific concepts;
- Development of teachers' ability to improve students' abilities in collecting and analyzing data within scientific investigations using current computer and information technology;
- Development of teachers' performance assessments related to scientific inquiry that align with national and state standards;
- Development of teachers' ability to increase the motivation and science achievement of underrepresented and underserved students by enabling teachers to create authentic classroom and informal science learning environments;
- Development of a cadre of lead teachers who will continue to support the professional development of teachers in their regions in the area of scientific inquiry and nature of science;
- Development and implementation of an exportable statewide model of professional development (for beginning and experienced teachers) based on national and state reform efforts.