Transforming science education through research-driven innovation



PlantingScience Digging Deeper {F2}


Calling all high school science teachers!

We are looking for high school science teachers to take part in a new research study. The goal of the study is to investigate how in-depth teacher professional learning in combination with a high-quality curriculum module and online mentoring by plant scientists can improve student outcomes and understanding of photosynthesis and cellular respiration.

This research study is based around the award-winning PlantingScience Power of Sunlight module. This study also builds on a successful previous study that resulted in significant improvements in student outcomes.

FAQs

What is the PlantingScience Digging Deeper {F2} study?

The PlantingScience Digging Deeper {F2} research study is funded by the National Science Foundation. The grant was awarded to the Botanical Society of America (BSA), BSCS Science Learning (BSCS), and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS).

The PlantingScience Digging Deeper {F2} study builds on a previous grant, Digging Deeper. Digging Deeper was a successful study that investigated the effects of quality curriculum, in depth professional learning, and mentoring by professional scientists to improve student outcomes in content achievement and attitudes about scientists. The Digging Deeper {F2} study is a study to ensure that the positive outcomes of Digging Deeper can be replicated. In addition, Digging Deeper {F2} adds a new component. This study will compare an in-person professional learning experience with an online format, which could be more sustainable. The design of the study is as a randomized control trial, the most rigorous type of design for educational research.

Who is doing the research study?

This research study, as was as the previous Digging Deeper study, is a collaboration among three organizations. The Botanical Society of America is the professional organization of botanists and plant scientists. BSCS Science Learning is a nonprofit organization that is a recognized leader in science education including instructional materials, professional learning, and science education research. Researchers at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs bring extensive experience in designing, conducting, and analyzing educational research studies.

What are the benefits of participation?

  • All teachers will receive professional learning. Teachers in the treatment groups will receive the professional learning experience either through a face-to-face format or an asynchronous online format during the first year of the study. Teachers assigned to the control group will take part in online professional learning during the second year of the study.
  • Students of teachers who participate in the study will benefit from participating in a high-quality curriculum that includes authentic independent research projects and collaboration with scientist mentors.
  • All online communications between students and mentors take place over the PlantingScience online platform. Teachers supervise and monitor all communications. Communications between student teams and scientist mentors are not visible to the public or other students or mentors.
  • BSA will provide some supplies for teaching the Power of Sunlight module in participating classrooms.
  • Teachers who participate in the study will receive a stipend of $2000 paid in installments if they complete the two-year study.

Who is eligible to participate in the study?

  • We are looking for US high school teachers who teach biology or life science. Other related classes, including environmental science, honors biology, or AP biology are also eligible. (If you have a question about eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions.)
  • Teachers who took part in the earlier Digging Deeper research project are not eligible.
  • Teachers who have previously taught the PlantingScience Power of Sunlight module are not eligible.
  • We are only able to select one teacher per school for this project. (This is due to the random selection process because having teachers in different treatment groups would create too much risk of overlap between groups.)

What is the PlantingScience Power of Sunlight module?

  • The PlantingScience Power of Sunlight module is an online module focusing on photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Students begin the module with guided investigations and work toward a culminating activity in which they design and conduct an independent investigation based on their own research question. Throughout the module, students communicate with their scientist mentors for help and feedback.
  • We anticipate that teachers will spend the equivalent of approximately two weeks with the Power of Sunlight module. However, this will not be “full-time.” For example, on some days students will spend an entire class period on investigations and discussions. On other days, students may spend approximately 15 minutes checking in with their mentors online followed by other activities of your choice. Days of instruction do not need to be consecutive.

If I am selected to participate in the study, what are my duties and responsibilities?

If you are selected for the study, you will be assigned randomly to one of three groups. Random assignment is important for maintaining the “gold standard” of educational research study design. It will not be possible to change groups once assigned. The responsibilities are somewhat different for each group, as specified below.

  • Treatment group 1: In-person professional learning. Teachers in this group will
    • Attend a 6-day in-person professional learning experience at BSCS Science Learning headquarters in Colorado Springs in the summer of 2023 (travel required; travel, hotel, and meal expenses covered through the grant).
    • Disseminate and collect assent and consent forms from students and parents for participation in the study.
    • Teach the Power of Sunlight module to their class during the fall 2023 semester.
    • Complete brief (approximately 5 minute) surveys to document their instruction each day while teaching the module.
    • Administer pretests and posttests to students.
    • Complete end-of-unit teacher surveys.
    • During the fall of 2024, teachers will again teach the Power of Sunlight module to their students to determine if implementation improves when teaching the unit for the second time.
  • Treatment group 2: Online professional learning. Teachers in this group will
    • Participate in approximately 36 hours of online professional learning. This will take place over approximately 6 weeks during the summer of 2023. The professional learning will include facilitated large group sessions as well as non-facilitated small group sessions and individual time.
    • Disseminate and collect consent and assent forms from students and parents for participation in the study.
    • Teach the Power of Sunlight module to their class during the fall, 2023 semester.
    • Complete brief (approximately 5 minute) surveys to document their instruction each day while teaching the module.
    • Collect student assent and parent/guardian consent forms permitting students to participate in the research study.
    • Administer pretests and posttests to students.
    • Complete end-of-unit teacher surveys.
    • During the fall of 2024, teachers will again teach the Power of Sunlight module to their students to determine if implementation improves when teaching the unit for the second time.
  • Control group: Business-as-usual. Teachers in this group will
    • Disseminate and collect consent and assent forms from students and parents for participation in the study.
    • Teach their usual curriculum materials on photosynthesis and cellular respiration to their class during the fall, 2023 semester. Teachers will be provided with a list of scientific concepts that they should address in their lessons.
    • Complete brief daily surveys (approximately 5 minutes) to document their instruction each day while teaching the module.
    • Collect student assent and parent/guardian consent forms permitting students to participate in the research study.
    • Administer pretests and posttests to students.
    • Complete end-of-unit teacher surveys.
    • During the summer of 2024, teachers will take part in online professional learning followed by teaching the Power of Sunlight module to their classes in the fall.

Summary of Timeline for the 3 Study Groups

summer 2023fall 2023summer 2024fall 2024
treatment group 1in-person Professional LearningTeach PlantingScience Power of Sunlight moduleno scheduled activitiesTeach PlantingScience Power of Sunlight module
treatment group 1Online Professional LearningTeach PlantingScience Power of Sunlight moduleno scheduled activitiesTeach PlantingScience Power of Sunlight module
Control groupno scheduled activitiesTeach your usual lessons about photosynthesis and cellular respirationOnline Professional LearningTeach PlantingScience Power of Sunlight module

  Note

This is designed to be a two-year study. However, we realize it can be difficult to complete this requirement due to a variety of circumstances. For this reason, we prioritize participation during the first year. If you are not sure if you would be able to complete the second year, we would still encourage you to apply and take part in the first year of the study. Payment of the honorarium is phased and linked to completion of the tasks and responsibilities of the study as described above. Participants who complete all the requirements of study year 1 will receive $1400. Teachers who complete the second year of the study will receive an additional $600.


This study is in partnership with Botanical Society of America (BSA) and University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS).

University of Colorado at Coloardo Springs logo

This course is full for the summer and fall of 2021.

Calling all Middle School Science Teachers!

Are you interested in a high quality professional learning (PL) opportunity to support the enactment of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-aligned curricula? Do you know other middle school science teachers who could benefit from an immersive PL experience designed to enhance both teacher and student learning?

BSCS has a fully-online PL course developed to guide teachers through our new body systems curriculum unit: A Medical Mystery. This NGSS-aligned unit immerses students in an online environment that challenges them to use scientific reasoning skills and argumentation to solve, “What’s Wrong with M’Kenna?”

Intrigued? Learn more about A Medical Mystery!

Part 1 of the PL (held in summer) engages teachers in developing an understanding of A Medical Mystery, learning STeLLA® strategies as they are embedded in the unit, and analyzing classroom video of the units in action.

Part 2 of the PL (held in fall) supports teachers as they begin to use the unit with students. Teachers who continue onto Part 2 of the course will film themselves teaching the unit and will engage in video-based analysis-of-practice with their peers.

Details

  • Part 1: June – August, 2021 is a 7-week summer course. Participation each week requires approximately 4 hours of asynchronous work (with mid-week and end-of-week assignments), and 2 hours of synchronous work. Exact meeting schedule will be developed to accommodate the availability and needs of participants.
    • Total hours of participation: 42 hours across 7 weeks
  • Part 2: September – November, 2021 includes 5 2-hour synchronous sessions spread across 10 weeks. Participants teach A Medical Mystery to students, film themselves using the materials with students, and engage in video-based analysis-of-practice to refine their understanding and use of the unit.
    • Total hours of participation: time to teach the unit plus 10 hours across 10 weeks
    • Completion of Part 1 is a prerequisite for registering for Part 2.
  • Location: Online; basic equipment

Why participate?

Throughout this comprehensive institute, you will:

  • become familiar with the Next Generation Science Standards and learn how to successfully enact NGSS-aligned curriculum.
  • enhance your own understanding of body systems content to better support students’ classroom engagement and 3-dimensional learning.
  • develop an understanding of BSCS’s signature STeLLA strategies—which have shown to be highly effective in improving both teacher and student learning.

This resource was developed in partnership with Oregon Public Broadcasting.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1502571. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Five Tools and Processes for Translating the NGSS into Instruction and Classroom Assessment

As a teacher, how can you plan for instruction and classroom assessment based on the new science standards and Framework for K-12 Science Education? As a leader, how can you support teachers as they navigate this process?

Discover an effective pathway at a Five Tools Institute. The Five Tools and Processes to support educators in translating disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and performance expectations into a coherent unit plan for (NGSS-aligned) phenomenon or problem-focused units of instruction.

Which Five Tools Institute is right for you?

BSCS customizes Five Tools Institutes based on the target participants’ needs and goals. The most popular examples of what we offer and for whom include:

Five Tools Institute 1: Learning the Process

Learning Goals

  • develop a deeper understanding of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Framework for K-12 Science Education.
  • using a middle school example unit, learn how to design and plan three-dimensional, phenomena or problem-driven units of instruction.
  • leverage facilitation guides and other resources to help you navigate the Five Tools model of professional development.

Target Participants

  • K-12 Teachers, Teacher Leaders, District Leaders

Five Tools Institute 2: Developing a Unit of Instruction and Classroom Assessment

Learning Goals

  • develop a deeper understanding of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Framework for K-12 Science Education.
  • learn how to design and plan three-dimensional, phenomena or problem-driven units of instruction.
  • use the tools and processes to develop a unit of instruction and classroom assessment.
  • access facilitation guides and other resources to help you navigate the Five Tools model of professional development.

Target Participants

  • K-12 Teachers, Teacher Leaders, District Leaders

Five Tools Institute 3: Leadership Development

Learning Goals

  • develop a deeper understanding of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Framework for K-12 Science Education.
  • Learn how to support educators in designing and planning three-dimensional, phenomena or problem-driven units of instruction using the Five Tools.
  • Access, review, and practice using facilitation guides and other resources to help you lead educators in navigating the Five Tools model of professional development.

Target Participants

  • Science supervisors
  • K-12 teacher leaders (leaders of teams can include classroom teachers)
  • District/school administrators
  • Science consultants
  • University faculty

How can you participate in an institute?

When BSCS has an institute available for public registration, we will post the opportunity on this page.

If we don’t currently have an institute available that meets your needs, contact us about how we can collaborate with you on developing and/or hosting one.

BSCS can support the design and implementation of Five Tools Institutes of various sizes across the country.

BSCS Science Learning is offering a free professional learning (PL) opportunity with our new Invitations to Inquiry with FieldScope lesson materials, which get students working with real-world data from citizen science projects using FieldScope.

Invitations to Inquiry with FieldScope are 2–4 class period environmental science instructional materials that provide educators and students an initial experience with asking and answering questions by analyzing environmental community and citizen science (CCS) data. They are also designed to support educators and students in sensemaking using scientific data, making progress toward the NGSS practices of analyzing and interpreting data and constructing explanations.

Details

The current opportunity for PL is an online, self-paced course and is free and open to any educators interested in community and citizen science and/or using data in your classrooms or informal settings.

This course will take approximately 3–4 hours to complete. It is located here –please be sure to sign up  so we can keep a record of who completes the course.

FAQs

Which topics do the materials cover?

Check out all 12 Invitations to Inquiry with FieldScope.

What is FieldScope?

FieldScope is BSCS Science Learning’s platform for citizen and community science projects. With FieldScope’s interactive platform, organizers of field studies can leverage sophisticated graphing and mapping visualization tools and resources to enhance their existing and planned citizen science projects.

STeLLA Online: A Highly Successful Video-based Professional Learning Model in an Online Environment

Calling all Elementary Teachers!

BSCS Science Learning invites you to participate in our nationally-recognized professional learning (PL) program, STeLLA® (Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis). We’ve translated research into practice by creating a fully online version of STeLLA – that is now available to elementary teachers across the country!

STeLLA supports teachers in learning to use effective teaching strategies through a powerful video-based lesson analysis approach. This research-based program has demonstrated impacts on both teacher and student learning above and beyond any impacts from a traditional science teacher professional learning program.

Elementary teachers who want to implement research-based curriculum and improve their teaching have something to gain from STeLLA. And so do their students.

The cost to participate is $1,820. Secure your spot in STeLLA Online. Space is limited!

Why Participate?

  • STeLLA builds a sense of community among educators.
  • Participants will become more effective and confident science teachers.
  • STeLLA significantly increases student achievement in science.
  • STeLLA accelerates learning…which is especially valuable in a time when a lot of learning has been lost.
  • The program is fully online, allowing teachers to participate from anywhere.

What’s Required?

Participating teachers commit to approximately 90 hours PL spread across the summer and 2021-2022 school year.

  • In the summer, participants must complete 10 online modules, containing asynchronous assignments and synchronous sessions held via Zoom:
    • complete approximately 4 hours of asynchronous work each week for 10 weeks, and
    • participate in ten 2-hour synchronous sessions.
  • In the fall semester 2021, participants must:
    • teach 7 Earth’s Changing Surface lessons provided by BSCS (each lesson is approximately 45 minutes in length),
    • film themselves teaching one of the Earth’s Changing Surface lessons, and
    • participate in five 2-hour synchronous sessions held via zoom discussing their own video and the videos of their peers enrolled in the course.
  • In the spring semester 2022, participants must:
    • teach 6 Water Cycle lessons with main learning goals and activities provided by BSCS (each lesson is approximately 45 minutes in length),
    • complete asynchronous assignments (approximately 1.5 hours per week for five weeks), and
    • participate in six 2-hour synchronous sessions.

About the PL Opportunity

There’s been a lot of buzz about the STeLLA PL model (check out this EdWeek article) and with good reason. STeLLA is based on a 17-year line of research and development and has demonstrated significant impacts on science teaching and student achievement in science.

We’ve translated research into practice by developing this new online model. Now, teachers across the country, in rural and urban areas alike, can take part in this exciting professional learning experience.

Teacher Recertification Credits

Participating teachers will receive up to 89.5 total hours of credit (based on actual participation). We will provide each teacher with a certificate of participation and will detail each teacher’s dates of participation. Teachers may be able to use the certificate toward recertification, depending on district policies.

BSCS Science Learning is conducting a National Science Foundation-funded study exploring whether learning about the multifactorial causes of human variation reduces racial bias among middle and high school biology students. We are looking for interested teachers to participate in the study. We will prepare teachers for this study through a free five-day summer institute. The institute is not occurring in summer 2022. To be notified when the institute will be scheduled, please click here.

About the Study

As a participant, you would teach your standard curriculum on molecular genetics for a week. Afterwards, over the following four weeks, your students would learn about Mendelian genetics and multifactorial genetics in different orders. In half of your classrooms you would teach Mendelian genetics and then multifactorial genetics. In the other half you would teach multifactorial genetics and then Mendelian genetics. The BSCS research team will explore how these units affect students’ quantitative reasoning in biology and their knowledge of genetics, and whether this learning, in turn causes reductions in cognitive forms of racial prejudice. For more on our work, visit Towards a More Humane Genetics Education.

About the Summer Institute

Participating teachers would attend a free five-day summer institute at BSCS Science Learning in Colorado Springs, CO to learn about how to use these genetics instructional materials to teach genetics to reduce racial bias. BSCS will pay for all lodging, food, and travel for participating teachers. Also, BSCS can pay districts up to $300 dollars per participating teacher to cover the costs of a substitute if needed. We will select a total of twenty teachers for the study. Preference will be given to teachers who:

  1. Can provide BSCS with a letter of support from their principal confirming that they support their teacher’s participation in the study provided their school district approves of the study.
  2. Can attend the five-day institute during the summer (dates TBD) at BSCS Science Learning in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  3. Teach at least four sections of biology at the same grade and level (e.g. all introductory biology, or all honors, or all AP, or all sheltered).
  4. Are interested in participating in the research in upcoming school years.
  5. Are committed to carrying out this study with diligence, which means meeting all deadlines, managing paper work, and paying careful attention to study details.
  6. Are interested in learning how to teach for social justice in biology education.