Home NODE Project Background Curriculum Design
Curriculum Design Print E-mail
Written by Caroline Joyce   
Friday, 01 June 2007 13:56

For this project, we will develop three, multi-part curriculum modules, with accompanying interactive web activities, data visualizations and animations. Our conceptual framework for these modules is a systems approach to learning and organizing curriculum components. We have used this approach over many years, and have met with great success when utilizing multiple technologies related to a scientific research story.

Curriculum modules of this type, dealing with data literacy grounded in real science contexts are particularly well suited to addressing the intersections that exist between mathematics and science education standards. We propose to align our project materials to National Mathematics and National Science Education Standards ,  especially those dealing with technology and systems. The rationale for coordinating science standards with mathematics standards is to enhance student use and understanding of mathematics and data literacy within the context of real scientific events. In other words, students can practice math skills and processes with in the context of a variety of inquiry-based scientific exercises which relate to authentic scientific research and real-time data.

Given the resources available for this demonstration project, we propose that correlations of project materials to individual State Standards be undertaken only in those states where we are working with partner sites this year.

Within the curriculum modules, authentic research questions and supporting sub-questions will be used by students to build hypotheses in the context of the scientific story. This method will draw out student preconceptions before their exploration of  real-time data in order to help assess progress toward understanding. Students will have to make a plan to test their individual or team hypotheses using the NODE portal and tools for data manipulation. This method reinforces students' understanding of the content, context, and scientific processes.

In addition, short pre- and post-tests will be developed for each curriculum module. These will consist of multiple-choice questions for students to answer which will enable teachers to assess student understanding.

Finally, the curriculum modules will incorporate a scaled approach to learning to facilitate a transfer of knowledge from one project to another. Within the curriculum modules we develop, we will offer activities at five different scaled levels of interaction: Entry, Adoption, Adaptation, Interactivity, and Invention. Entry and adoption are very directive and teacher driven. However, they are important first steps when learning something new.  The levels of adaptation through invention are more student directed and open up opportunities to design lessons featuring student driven inquiry.

Levels of Scaled Interaction




Invention Level: Invention is the highest cognitive level. Exercises need to be designed where pedagogy and technology are integrated simultaneously. This is where the inquiry approach can be fully implemented. This area is very student driven. Student-designed investigations


Interactivity Level: This level features the use of complex technology interactions. Here problem-solving techniques are introduced that can be very student directed. Tools are needed for students to analyze data and discuss findings. Manipulating data: Students download data from the Web in order to import and manipulate the data in spreadsheets.


Adaptation Level: Students use portal tools to play and practice what they know. These interactions can be student-directed. Problem solving: Students identify locations  with coastal characteristics to help inform a research question.


Adoption Level: Many teachers appreciate having prescriptive approaches to utilizing online tools. We recommend some form of drill and practice exercises that are predictable to teachers and will be available for them to share with their students. Once understood teachers can move to the next level of online interactivity and teacher technology inclusion.

Interactive applets: Students use Web-based tools to practice basic skills such as reading two-axis graphs or interpreting data on maps.


Entry Level: The developers are making the basic assumption that first-time users of a new portal are at an entry level and need direct guidance in how to use the portal and demonstration site. This level of interaction is very teacher directed. Once teachers learn how to use the site they are ready to skip this level and move on to more complex levels.  The Entry Level provides teachers with a teach-back system to help their students enter into the portal and its use.
Scavenger hunt for data: Students become proficient with Web-based tools by using a data “dashboard” to quickly select and find specific information.

† For more information about the research behind this approach, consult these papers:

Dwyer, D. C., Ringstaff, C., & Sandholtz, J. H. (1990). Teacher beliefs and practices, Part I: Pattern of change. ACOT Report # 8. Cupertino, CA: Apple Classroom of Tomorrow Advanced Technology Group, Apple Computer, Inc.

Bransford, J.D., Goin, L., Hasselbring, T.S., Kinzer, C.K., Sherwood, R.D., & Williams, S.M. (1999). Learning with technology: Theoretical and empirical perspectives. Peabody Journal of Education.  5-26.

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