Tim Pelton, Andrew Weaver, University of Victoria
Joyce Ramsden, Michelle Twigg, Ed Wiebe, University of Victoria
Andrew Weaver and Ed Wiebe (UVic School of Earth and Ocean Sciences) with support from the NSERC Promoscience program and NEC Corporation installed weather stations in Greater Victoria schools and have developed a website to support the distribution of the collected data and integrated learning resources to support their use in the K-12 science curriculum. The goal of their project was to foster scientific and technological literacy by supporting teachers and students with information communication technologies related to the science of weather. Weather was selected as their topic focus because of its connection to the under-represented physical sciences in K-7, its common interest to Canadians, and its current relevance in addressing science, technology, society and environment (STSE) issues. The data collected as part of this project is available in real time from www.victoriaweather.ca. This research and development group is focused on the development and delivery of instructional resources (e.g., a BC curriculum unit for grade 4 [Ramsden, Weaver], other teacher resources [Weaver, Wiebe], and assessment instruments [Pelton, Twigg]) to support the integration and use of authentic weather station resources in classroom learning.
The current context of science education reform suggests that the development of science, technology and mathematics literacy requires students to develop a fundamental sense and a derived sense of science literacy, technology literacy and mathematics literacy. The fundamental sense involves the verb of doing the discipline and having the cognitive and metacognitive abilities, habits of mind, discipline-specific language, and the ICT strategies of a literate person in science, technology and mathematics. The derived sense involves understanding the big ideas of the discipline and the nature of the discipline as a knowledgeable person in science, technology and mathematics. Collectively, these senses interact with one another in a symbiotic matter and lead to fuller participation in the public debate about STSE issues like global warming. This project is based on the constructivist pedagogical belief that students need to perform authentic inquiries; co-construct meanings from these experiences and communicate their results and understandings to others. Students must engage and challenge their prior knowledge about a target idea, identify questions, collect and manipulate data and then use the evidence to establish claims and support inferences with the support of their teachers.