The Mi-STAR project was one of a handful of proposals selected to deliver a 90-minute presentation to more than 50 teachers from around the United States at the annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, CA. AGU partners with the National Earth Science Teachers’ Association (NESTA) to sponsor a day-long workshop that provides teachers classroom-ready lesson plans and materials based on cutting-edge advancements in education and science. The Mi-STAR presentation, titled “Conserving our nonrenewable resources: Developing a theme-based NGSS-aligned integrated science unit using the Mi-STAR method,” used portions of lessons from a 7th grade unit currently being piloted.
Mi-STAR asked participant teachers to assume the role of their students throughout the interactive presentation. Teachers became researchers as they investigated a range of factors that would affect the suitability of insulation materials for use in “green building” construction. A series of mini-investigations guided teachers’ research and modeled the 5E learning cycle and the progression of a “Unit-Long Challenge,” a key Mi-STAR curriculum element. Participants were divided into groups, each of which researched a different insulation material and shared their results with the entire group. This “Jigsaw” strategy was used to foster teamwork and promote networking. Participants had an active role throughout the presentation as they pulled information together regarding the physical properties, insulation value, local availability, and renewability of their team’s insulation material. Participants left the workshop with selected lesson plans from the unit, all aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.
For more information on AGU GIFT, read here.