ST1.2 Students work independently and collaboratively in an inquiry-based learning environment that encourages finding creative solutions to authentic and complex problems.
What were the areas of strength noted in the Self Assessment?
At Academy of Greatness and Excellence learning experiences in most grades include real world, relevant, complex, open-ended problems that require problem identification, investigation, and analysis. Not only in the STEM subjects, but in all subjects taught at AGE, whether it is a writing or social studies class, students are encouraged to think critically and work collaboratively to creatively find solutions to problems. Strategies such as “Think-Pair-Share” are used by teachers in the class to allow for collaboration, self-expression and contribution in discussions.
Students are urged to think out of the box and come up with creative solutions to the environment in their science classes. For example in 1st Grade, students were encouraged to build bird feeders and were given the opportunity to test which design worked best outdoors. Also, in 7th grade, students learned about the Aquaponics system and how to utilize it for a better environment.
Inquiry-based learning is at its best during activities such as the Science Fair, Science Olympiad and Math Olympiad where students are allowed full freedom to explore through trial and error how to solve an issue or a real world problem.
What were areas in need of improvement?
Engineering, as a concept, is an area that AGE believes to be in need of development. Inquiry-based learning and engineering design, as a concept, may be applied in more classes and more frequently at AGE.
What actions are being implemented to sustain the areas of strength?
A main component on teachers’ observation checklists is “questioning and discussion”, an element that is required of teachers, during a lesson, to allow students time to ask questions and to think of solutions to problems. Teachers are expected to encourage students to think, ask questions, and promote discussions and inquiry in the class.
What plans are being made to improve the areas of need?
More professional development and workshops on the New Generation Science Standards is the plan to build up a bank of strategies and ideas for implementation in the classrooms.