Research-related Curriculum Development in Science and Mathematics

Professor Michelle Smith

Professor Smith demonstrates to class


This course encouraged pre- and in-service teachers to explore pedagogical strategies that help students learn to think independently. It also provided an opportunity to use backwards design to develop an inquiry-based curriculum unit that fostered a “culture of science” in their classrooms. Part of their curriculum unit included aligning the topic to the appropriate NGSS content standards. In Spring 2015, this section of the course was expanded to also include lessons on the scientific practices and how they relate to the curriculum units.

Pre- and in-service teachers taking the course each designed a one-week curriculum unit on a science or math topic of their choice.  The curriculum unit was built using a backwards design framework.  Most of the first month of the course involved having the pre- and in-service teachers explore the NGSS and CCSSM standards, select content and practices to focus on for their unit, and write learning goals based on their selected standards.  The pre- and in-service teachers worked to align their rationale, formative and summative assessments, and classroom activities back to their chosen standards and practices.  Encouraging the pre- and in-service teachers to do this linking helped them to focus their curriculum units on standards and practices that are important for their grade level.

Students present to class

Course Syllabus

Course Video

This video shows graduate students in the course “Research-related Curriculum Development in Science and Mathematics” working on a modeling activity.  The students are completing  a modeling activity making a model of a mitochondrion that is the type of activity they might use when teaching.