Eighth graders in Tabitha Galaty’s Ira Jones Middle School science class tried to decide how much modeling clay to allocate to the Earth versus Pluto.

The students gazed at the paper cutouts of the solar system hanging from the ceiling and compared it to solar system pictured on the white board.

Galaty told the students to use the information they have and their own observations to make a modeling clay replica of the planets.

Last year, Galaty said, she would have given them each planet’s mass, size and weight to use as they constructed their own models.

However, this year, teachers are encouraging and guiding students to solve problems for themselves as part of the new K-12 Next Generation School Science Standards implemented at the middle school level this school year.

The new science standards are one of several changes District 202 implemented in its middle school curriculum this school year.

The Next Generation Science Standards put the “doing of science” in students’ hands, Galaty said.

Teachers are seeing early, encouraging signs of success already, said Paula Sereleas, Director for Middle School Curriculum and Instruction.

Click here to read the full article in the Joliet Herald-News (December 14, 2016)


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