Integrating Nature of Science and Physical science in Instruction in Rural Schools (INSPIRS)

Project Period:  March 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013

Target Audience:  Physical Science Teachers

Funding Source:  Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) Grant (From VDOE)

Funding Amount: $74,076

The Integrating Nature of Science and Physical science in Instruction in Rural Schools (INSPIRS) is a collaborative partnership between Longwood College of Arts and Sciences, Longwood Institute for Teaching through Technology and Innovative Practices, Southside Virginia Regional Technology Consortium, Amelia, Brunswick, Charlotte, Cumberland, Danville, Dinwiddie, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Patrick, and Pittsylvania school divisions.  The partnership will develop a comprehensive teacher professional development model to transform science teaching and learning in middle schools in rural Virginia.  As active members of a science learning community, teachers will attend week-long training on physical science and Nature of Science and receive follow-up during the school year in the form of classroom visits, online learning community, and webinars.  In enhancing the pedagogical and technological knowledge, teachers will receive training on the integration of understanding by design framework, inquiry-based learning strategies, 5E learning cycle, and technology tools of inquiry to meet the needs of diverse learners.  In addition to twenty science and special education teachers, regional instructional leaders will also be targeted for additional professional development.  Partnering school divisions have agreed to support the teachers by providing necessary resources.

The INSPIRS project expects the following outcomes: 1) Improve the quality of 20 middle school science and special education teachers by increasing their content knowledge in physical science content and Nature of Science and stimulating their sustained use of technology-infused inquiry-based pedagogies; 2) Create, assess, and refine exemplary inquiry-based instructional modules for distribution; and 3) Evaluate the impact of the professional development on student achievement in middle school science.

Teachers participated in professional development in Summer 2012 and those teachers have on-going school year activities as well. Another opportunity for professional development via an online course will occur in Spring 2013.

Additional funding for INSPIRS for professional development services provided by Virginia Museum of Natural History and Regent University.

Related Resources

Recruitment: Cohort 1, Cohort 2, Cohort 3
Videos: Teachers
Articles: Grant Announcement, Cohort 3 RecruitmentITTIP July 2012 NewsletterITTIP September 2012 NewsletterITTIP November 2012 Newsletter, ITTIP December 2012/January 2013ITTIP March 2013 Newsletter, ITTIP May 2013 Newsletter, ITTIP June 2013 Newsletter
Lessons:  Curriculum GuideINSPIRS