Phenomenal Science Key Instructional Strategies The following Key Instructional Strategies are supported by the Core Principles of Phenomenal Science. They are powerful teaching strategies because they engage students in constructing their own understanding about science phenomena.
Doing Science to Learn ScienceWhile actively engaged in practicing science process to learn content and build conceptual understanding, students are developing understanding of science as a way to solve problems and make sense of the world.
Anchoring PhenomenaEngaging learners in constructing their understanding of real puzzling phenomena causes them to build understanding in all three dimensions. See the Anchoring Phenomena Blog for more information.
Multiple Iterations Students require more than one opportunity to construct understanding of a phenomena. Revising their thinking becomes a natural part of the process and is a necessary step to learning. See the Multiple Iterations Blog for more information.
InvestigationsHands on explorations of phenomena are critical for concrete elementary thinkers to develop their ideas. Investigations in Phenomenal Science are not intended to be “cookbook labs” in which students confirm understanding or get cookie-cutter results. Instead they strive to be more open-ended and enable students to gather evidence toward building understanding of the anchoring phenomenon. See the Investigations Blog for more information.
ModelingEngaging students in developing, using, and revising their own models is critical to developing their understanding of science concepts. See the Modeling Blog for more information.
Summary TablesSometimes used in the form of “KLEWS Charts,” these tools allow a class to gather evidence over multiple investigations and iterations of the same phenomenon over the course of an Instructional Cycle. They will be posted in the class and may also be tracked in notebooks. See the Summary Tables Blog for more information.
Scientific Method vs Methods of ScientistsBecause it is our intention to engage students in developing understanding of phenomena the way scientists do, Phenomenal Science does not incorporate a specific step-by-step version of the scientific method. Rather, particular skills are introduced and applied as needed. See the Scientific Method Blog for more information.
Science-Driven Integration of ELA / Math / TechnologyWhat we find is that students understanding when developed in this synergistic way, is greater in ALL subjects than it would be in just spending more time on those subjects. As a result, Phenomenal Science has been very intentional about integrating speaking, listening, reading, writing, and math around real science, technology, and engineering experiences. See the Integration Blog for more information.
Exploration Stations Also called Science Centers or Science Tables, these stations are employed in several Phenomenal Science units and can be incorporated into a regular rotation of learning centers. This is typically an opportunity for students to have more hands-on engagement with investigations, or more independent investigations of related phenomena. See the Exploration Stations Blog for more information.
Making Thinking Visible / AudibleThroughout each cycle, particularly while engaged in the Science and Engineering Practices, students will make their thinking visible to the teacher and especially for peers. Using these strategies, students are making their thinking visible / audible to build the teacher-student feedback loop.
Science NotebookingIt is recommended that teachers require students to use an interactive science notebook to support learning in this unit. A major goal of a science notebook is for students to develop the ability to collect data, make sense of them and share with others. See the Notebooking Blog for more information.
Class Question Maps Also called “Driving Question Boards,” these are a tool for gathering students questions and co-developed answers to them. They are posted in the classroom and sometimes also captured in notebooks. See the Class Question Map Blog for more information.
Collaborative GroupsBecause students generate their understanding through processing experiences and within social settings, collaborative groups are a key instructional strategy within Phenomenal Science. See the Collaborative Group Blog for more information.
Evidence-Based Investigations / Talk / WritingAll discourse, visible thinking and student writing should be based on evidence that students have generated or gathered. Written evidence should be gathered in student notebooks when informal. See the Evidence-Based Blog for more information.
Explanatory and Argumentative Speaking and Writing Both explanatory and argument speaking and writing are critical to building deep understanding of concepts. They work together but are still distinctly different. Many informal opportunities are embedded in the units such as in discourse, spoken prompts for collaborative groups, and written notebook jots. More formal examples tend to occur toward the end of instructional cycles and units. These are also key areas for integration with language arts. See the Explanatory Blog and Argument Blog for more information.
Science Discourse / Talk MovesStudents build science understanding of concepts through processing of hands on investigations and activities. Their first mode of processing is talk. See the Science Discourse Blog for more information.
Concept Maps Through use of concept maps as a processing tool, students can track their thinking and revise understanding in notebooks and together in collaborative groups. See the Concept Map Blog for more information.