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.
• 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.