The structure of the program
This professional development program is built on a framework that includes:
The framework for PD and the teaching and learning and assessment strategies presented in the materials that are part of this PD program can be used with other resources beyond this program, including additional curriculum resources for the secondary years and a possible primary program.
Using the materials in the program
'Less is more'
The 'mile wide, inch thick' attitude to science curriculum is being replaced by the 'less is more' approach. The 'mile wide, inch thick' expression is used to describe the superficial treatment of a curriculum that covers a wide range of science topics. The current view is that it is better to tackle fewer concepts, provide more experiences with these few concepts and treat them in more depth. By doing so, a student develops better understanding that can be transferred to new situations. While these resources provide three modules and many activities, the expectation is that teachers will make choices that allow their students sufficient time and experiences to reflect on the ideas that they are learning.
Flexibility and choice
The resources provide considerable flexibility and choice for teachers and students. There are more activities than would be required for a term's work. Teachers and students will need to select activities suited to their needs and interests.
The learning outcomes have been outlined for each module in three broad levels of conceptual development. Similarly, activities have been classified on a three-point scale according to their level of challenge (one to three stars), matching this developmental continuum. The purpose of the star rating is to help teachers choose activities appropriate for their students. Those activities without a star rating are considered to be integral parts of a well-structured teaching and learning unit and so should be included.
Besides selecting activities within each module, the teacher should also consider how many modules should be tackled in the term. While there are three modules available, classes may realistically only be able to complete two modules in a term. Each of the modules is self-contained, so they could be taught in any order. There is, however, logic in teaching the more concrete modules of Light or Electricity before the more abstract module of Energy. The Light module and Electricity module also contain activities and ideas that are abstract and conceptually demanding even though each begins with simple activities.