Smithsonian Science for North and South Carolina Classrooms (SSfNSCC)
The SMT Center is helping North Carolina teachers to facilitate inquiry-based instruction for their students. Working in partnership with the Smithsonian Science Education Center and the South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science, the five-year initiative is funded by the US Department of Education. SSfNSCC includes sustained professional development for grades 3-5 teachers and the use of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom curriculum. North Carolina school district partners in this initiative are Alexander County Schools, Burke County Schools, Caldwell County Schools, and Polk County Schools.
Elements of the Initiative
During the five-year initiative, 19 schools will receive both an engineering and science module at grades 3-5 with two levels of accompanying professional development. The remaining 18 schools (or comparison schools) will receive one module and one level of professional development in the final year of the initiative. Specific attention will be on inquiry across the curriculum.
Professional Development for Teachers
Grades 3 – 5 teachers will participate in two levels of professional development for each curriculum module. The professional development will prepare the teachers to use the specific curriculum while also building their capacity to engage their students through inquiry.
Teachers will use the Smithsonian Science for the Classroom engineering curriculum module in years 2 and 3 of the initiative with the addition of the science curriculum module in year 4. Teachers in the comparison schools will use either the engineering or physical science module in year 5 of the initiative.
The Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP) at the University of Memphis will evaluate the results of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom curriculum and professional development on student achievement using standardized assessments, classroom observations, teacher surveys, and focus groups. Schools will be randomly assigned as either “treatment” or “comparison” schools.