Because children are naturally very curious and love to experiment, the childhood years provide a perfect opportunity to help kids develop a love for learning and especially a love for science. That’s what our very own Dr. Marta Leon, head of Mimio’s Instructional Development team believes, too. I recently sat down with Dr. Leon to learn more about how our recently launched MimioScience curriculum came to be….and, here’s what she had to say:
Q: Why is MimioScience different, what makes it the perfect resource for classroom teachers?
A: We believe MimioScience is going to become an essential resource to ensure that students master key scientific ideas in a way that is manageable for teachers and engaging for students. The lessons provide a solid foundation on science concepts and practices, which can later be extended to field experiments, science projects, and the wide variety of hands-on activities available to science teachers.
MimioScience affords teachers all the flexibility they need in today’s multimodal environment. The program is non-linear, which means that teachers can select any lesson or lessons that match their needs. Each lesson can be taught as a whole-group activity or delivered to small groups based on students’ level or entry skill set. Teachers can alternate between MimioScience and other curricula as desired, knowing that MimioScience is equipping their students with knowledge that prepares them to truly understand science concepts and practices. Each lesson is self-contained and includes all the instruction, practice, assessment, and ideas for extension projects to ensure mastery of the learning objectives.
Q: Is MimioScience aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)?
A: Yes! MimioScience is one of the first programs aligned to the New Generation Science Standards and has a strong emphasis on learning key disciplinary concepts and principles, as well as crosscutting ideas that apply to any scientific endeavor regardless of discipline. The program helps students think like scientists by guiding students to analyze, describe, and provide rationales for observed phenomena using the scientific vocabulary and reasoning skills taught in the lessons.
Q: What research supports MimioScience?
A: MimioScience is based on the science of concept teaching, in which cases of a concept or principle are varied systematically until students learn to identify the key characteristics of a concept or the necessary conditions in which a principle applies, across a wide variety of applicable and non-applicable scenarios.
The science of concept teaching is one of the two research pillars of MimioScience. The other research pillar is the field testing that was an integral part of the program’s development. All of the lessons that comprise the program were brought into real classrooms and tested with real teachers and students in order to refine and revise any aspect that could be improved. These tested and improved lessons then became MimioScience, available to teachers and students who can rest assured that the lessons they are using were refined based on input from other teachers and students.
Q: When will MimioScience be available?
A: In June, 25 physical science units (about 80 lessons) and 17 science processes units (about 51 lessons) will be available for downloading. During the winter of 2014, Mimio will release 7 engineering and technology units and 17 Earth and space units (about 51 lessons). Twelve life science units (about 36 lessons) will become available for downloading in April 2014. Each unit is a stand-alone piece with all necessary instruction, practice, in-school activities, and suggested extension activities for students to continue applying what they learned. Assessment probes are embedded within the lessons, and teachers have the option of modifying MimioScience assessments, practices and instruction. Directives for lesson delivery and feedback to students are included in the lessons.
Download our New White Paper:
Understanding Concepts: Implications for Science Teaching
Dr. Joe Layng writes about concepts: what they are, what does it mean to understand them and the challenges of concept teaching.