Britannica Pathways: Science

1/28/2014 By: MaryAnn Karre

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Britannica’s Pathways: Science is an online, interactive approach to teaching the scientific method in grades 6, 7, and 8 with a framework that is ideal for project-based learning, teacher-led instruction, and STEM programs.

Quality and Effectiveness: Created with the goal of targeting common scientific misconceptions among middle school students, Britannica’s Pathways: Science is a lesson package for teaching life, physical, earth, and space science. Rather than just presenting scientific facts like a basic encyclopedia, Pathways guides students through a method of inquiry from the essential question to hypothesis to information gathering and finally to an evidence-based conclusion, which enables students to learn as they conduct research. Students are shown how to reach conclusions by comparing and contrasting information, determining central ideas, evaluating arguments, and analyzing evidence. The user can then view or print the completed lesson responses and notes.

Ease of Use: Since this is a Web-based program, installation is a matter of buying the service and ensuring all computers are equipped with proper supporting programs, Internet connections, and settings. As teachers and students begin to learn with Pathways: Science, obvious and intuitive navigation instructions and lots of support materials make this an easy program to use. There is a teacher dashboard, which outlines various sample implementation models, helps guide instruction, explains the teaching philosophy that is supported, and indexes lessons by the state standards. These resources are also available and printable through a Teacher Notes link in the “Investigate” portion of a lesson, along with a detailed description of the resources presented.

Creative Use of Technology: Pathways: Science is easy to use. There’s no limit on the number of simultaneous users, and the program is fully compatible with technologies such as interactive whiteboards and virtual learning platforms. It also works equally well on PCs, MACs, iPads, and other Internet-compatible devices. This makes the homework and preparation for flipped lessons much easier, and it allows teachers to more easily plan for whole-group, small-group, and individual learning.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: A wide variety of resources is presented, which allows students to choose their preferred format and addresses many different learning styles. The modules engage students through inquiry-based learning. This method helps them learn to form hypotheses, test their ideas, evaluate data, and reach informed conclusions. Teachers can track students’ progress and allow them to restart a lesson. The material and research method support the Common Core standards, foster reading in the content areas, and encourage students to drive their own learning.

TOP FEATURES

• With nearly 100 lessons tied to the Common Core and Science curricula, Pathways: Science uses a consistent Predict-Investigate-Conclude process that teaches inquiry-based learning, critical thinking, and conceptual change, while presenting a wide variety of quality resources from the Britannica Online School Edition.
• A simple Teacher Dashboard makes it easy to manage classes, track student progress, search for lessons by standards, and implement effective inquiry-based lessons.
• Since it is Web-based and equally effective on any Internet-ready device, Pathways: Science can be accessed from school, home, or anywhere that the Internet is available, making it ideal for BYOD programs and flipped learning situations.

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