Our students are encouraged to immerse themselves in interactive and hands-on learning experiences.

To cultivate curiosity and provide students with practical scientific education, Alaska Academy has officially adopted the Inspire Science Curriculum by McGraw Hill for the 2023-2024 academic year. This curriculum, aligned with STEM education principles, aims to empower students to explore and understand science through engaging, experiential learning. Inspire Science will equip students with the skills and knowledge to investigate captivating natural phenomena and develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Inspire Science is designed to:

✍️ Cultivate natural curiosity fostering enhanced critical thinking skills.

🔮 Ilitate hands-on, resulting in a deeper comprehension knowledge.

🔭 Promote problem-solving, inspiring creative thinking.

Alaska Academy aims to introduce the qualities of the Insp Science Curriculum to help gain a better understanding the benefits it offers children as they embark their scientific exploration journey.

Inspire Science is a curriculum designed around the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) of the United States, which consist of three distinct dimensions: Science and Engineering Practices (SEP), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCC). These dimensions are combined to form each standard, shaping what students need to know and be able to do. The interaction of these dimensions helps students build a cohesive understanding of science.

The Science and Engineering Practices (SEP) dimension of the Inspire Science curriculum introduces students to and nurtures their scientific research skills through experiments and projects. Specifically, students engage in scientific research activities like observing and asking questions, setting up hypotheses or predictions, planning and conducting experiments to test the hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions, as well as communicating information. Engineering practice activities also form a part of the curriculum, involving steps such as identifying problems, surveying and designing models, building and evaluating the models, refining them, and communicating information.
(theworks.org)

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theworks.org/

The Inspire Science program is closely with the Disciplinary Ideas (DCI dimension, incorporating these ideas at each grade level in a model, with a more in-depth exploration at higher grade levels. The core encompass four fundamental areas which are:
Life Science:
LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structure and Processes
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
LS3: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation
LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Earth and Space Science:
ESS1: Earth’s Place in the Universe
ESS2: Earth’s Systems
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
Physical Science:
PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
PS3: Energy
PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Information Transfer
Technology and Engineering:
ETS1: Engineering Design
ETS2: Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science, and Society

calacademy.org/

In the realm of science, Core Ideas represent the foundational concepts necessary for comprehending a specific scientific discipline. These ideas are of broad, cross-disciplinary significance in science and engineering, providing essential tools for grasping intricate concepts and resolving issues related to societal or individual concerns. Furthermore, they can be taught at varying grade levels, with an emphasis on increasing depth and sophistication.

Crosscutting Concepts, on the other hand, transcend disciplinary boundaries and hold universal validity within the natural and engineering fields. Students can leverage these concepts to establish connections across different disciplines or situations, link new knowledge with prior experiences, and more deeply engage with knowledge in other dimensions. The NGSS mandates that students utilize their comprehension of these crosscutting concepts to comprehend phenomena or address problems.

NGSS has identified 07 crosscutting concepts (CCC) to help students gradually form a scientist’s perspective when learning Science, including:
Patterns
Cause and effect
Scale/proportion and quantity
Systems and system models
Energy and matter
Structure and function
Stability and change

The examples provided showcase how core ideas and crosscutting concepts can be integrated across different disciplines to enhance students’ understanding and appreciation for the interconnectedness of scientific phenomena. In grade 5, students are engaged in a variety of activities that allow them to recognize patterns and understand the factors contributing to them. Whether it’s observing the Moon’s phases, studying star patterns and constellations, or investigating weather patterns and climate change, students are encouraged to make connections across different scientific domains. By linking these concepts to real-world applications, such as the role of a climate change analyst, students are better equipped to apply their knowledge to solve complex problems and engage with the world around them. These examples demonstrate the value of integrating core ideas and crosscutting concepts to promote a holistic understanding of science and foster critical thinking skills.
Inspire Science offers 3 exciting and effective learning methods
1. Phenomenon-based learning method
The phenomenon-based learning method in Insp Science seems highly engaging and effective. It is designed to pique curiosity and encourage them to be interested in the topic they are learning about, creating opportunities for reflection, questioning, and connecting with previous knowledge. approach allows students to understand Science and Engineering Practices (SEP), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCC), which serve as the foundation for further activities in the program.

For instance, in a grade 1 lesson about sound, students engage in various activities such as listening to different instruments, making their instruments, and experimenting with sound waves. Throughout the lesson, they are encouraged to relate these phenomena to their prior knowledge and experiences, ask questions, and understand the meaning behind the phenomena. It’s especially noteworthy that students are guided to relate their observations of animals, plants, and human solutions to sound, using them as inspiration and exploring the connections through SEP, DCI, and CCC.

This approach not only makes learning fun and interactive but also helps students develop a strong understanding of scientific concepts and their applications in the natural world. This emphasis on connecting real-world phenomena with scientific concepts is a valuable way to foster a deep and holistic understanding of science.

2. Inquiry-based learning method
The Inspire Science Curriculum appears to be a comprehensive and engaging program that prioritizes inquiry-based learning and aligns with the Science and Engineering Practices (SEP) outlined in the NGSS. By engaging students in hands-on experiments, simulations, data analysis, and technology solutions, this curriculum not only sparks curiosity but also empowers students to think critically and develop solutions to real-world problems. The emphasis on asking questions, defining problems, gathering and evaluating information, and communicating findings reflects a strong alignment with the SEP guidelines.

The example provided for the lesson “Force can change motion” in grade 3 demonstrates the integration of inquiry activities with the development of scientific knowledge. Students are encouraged to ask questions, develop motion models, collect and analyze data, and communicate their findings, closely mirroring what scientists do in the real world. The emphasis on quantitative measurements, data analysis, and evidence-based explanations helps students build a strong foundation in scientific inquiry.

Overall, the approach taken by Inspire Science to integrate science and engineering practices with real-world scenarios seems promising in fostering a deeper understanding of scientific concepts and promoting critical thinking skills among students.

3. Project-based learning method
The approach of incorporating a STEM project at the end of each module in the Inspire Science Curriculum is an excellent way to engage students in real-world problem-solving and skill development. This hands-on, inquiry-based learning method aligns with the principles of the NGSS and encourages students to apply their scientific understanding to practical challenges. By integrating knowledge from multiple subjects to address real-life problems, students will develop critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and other skills essential for success in the modern workforce.
The gradual exploration, solution finding, model design, testing, and presentation process not only fosters a deep understanding of scientific concepts but also nurtures students’ abilities to manage projects, work in teams, make decisions, and communicate effectively. This comprehensive approach to project-based learning will equip students with a diverse set of skills, laying a strong foundation for their future professional endeavors.

Overall, the emphasis on hands-on STEM projects in the Inspire Science Curriculum offers a holistic learning experience that prepares students for the complexities of the 21st-century workforce.

Lessons are designed in the 5E model
The Inspire Science curriculum is guided by the 5E instructional model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate, with the addition of Reinforce in place of Elaborate. This approach aims to cultivate critical thinking and foster innovative problem-solving skills in students.

Engage:

In the initial phase, students are captivated by a specific phenomenon, prompting them to ask questions, connect with previous knowledge, and initiate discussions. This stage also enables teachers to gauge students’ existing knowledge, aiding in the development of tailored lessons.

Explore:

Students actively delve into new concepts through hands-on activities such as experiments, data analysis, and technological investigations, with the teacher assuming a supportive and coordinative role.

Explain

Here, students are introduced to new terms, concepts, and knowledge and are encouraged to synthesize and discuss this information with their peers and teachers, facilitating a deeper understanding.

Reinforce

This stage involves linking and extrapolating concepts to real-world scenarios. Students further practice and apply their learning, enhancing their skills and understanding while exploring potential STEM career paths.

Evaluate

After the lesson, both teachers and students review the acquired knowledge. This phase also serves as an opportunity for students to reflect on their initial assumptions by revisiting the questions or phenomena introduced at the outset of the lesson.

Students are evaluated using two methods: formative assessment summative assessment, are carried out through during the implementation of STEM project and in-class tests. Alaska Academy is confident that the integration of the Inspire Science, experienced educators, state-of-the-art facilities will provide Alaskids an engaging science education and foster the development of 21st-century skills.

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The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed to assist educators in preparing students for advanced education and future careers by introducing a more innovative approach to science education at the elementary level. To support teachers in adapting to this new approach, the Inspire Science curriculum has been designed to facilitate the necessary changes in teaching and learning science.

STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, with the aim of enabling students to synthesize and apply their knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems and create innovative designs. Through STEM education, students acquire essential skills such as problem-solving, creative and critical thinking, teamwork, independent and innovative thinking, decision-making, effective communication, emotional regulation, and digital literacy.

  Source: https://jcstem.cite.hku.hk/