Tuesday, January 25

SCHOOL NEWS new elementary science curriculum

This year Fairmont has begun implementing a new elementary science curriculum.  Designed by our science specialty teachers, it incorporates the latest in best practices for teaching science, encourages technology use and promotes an inquiry-based learning approach.   Exploratory, hands-on, project-based, - are all terms that describe it.  Inquiry-based learning is student-centered, a brain-based learning approach focusing on questioning, critical thinking, and problem solving. 

There is an old adage that says, “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.”  When we involve students (using the inquiry-based method) in the processes of science, they really do understand and they get excited about what they are learning.   Involvement requires skills and attitudes that enable students to ask relevant questions and seek appropriate resolutions.  These habits of mind go well beyond memorizing facts and information.   

Chief among the misconceptions associated with inquiry-based learning is that it just “fluff and stuff.” Nothing could be further from the truth.  Our primary goal at the elementary level is to teach the students the processes of science – how to observe, record, question, test, analyze – real world skills needed more than ever before.  The textbook becomes just a resource not the central focus of this kind of learning.  Assessments look different and measure different things

The knowledge base for science is constantly changing and expanding.  New ideas and discoveries are daily occurrences. No one can ever learn it all.  Today’s students need the skills and the ability to continue learning.  “What we know” is not nearly as important as “how we come to know.”

We want parents, students and our teachers to understand the intention of and goals for our new science curriculum.  We are on a journey of discovery, an exciting one, but it will take time to reach our destination.  

Warmest regards,

Sandy Cosgrove
Director of Education


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