Who knew that the table game Mouse Trap has seven subsystems? After a class period of exploration, sixth-graders in Greg Busse’s class not only knew about subsystems, they could identify where each started and ended in the game.

Early in the semester, students were asked to use the game, where the object is to successfully move a mouse-shaped piece along a Rube Goldberg-type path, to learn about subsystems and identify “contact points” where the mouse needs to find energy to move from one phase to the next.

Students divided into groups to identify boundaries of one of the seven sections of the path. Each section — or subsystem — was identified as the point at which the mouse found energy to connect it with the next section of the path.


The hands-on exercise readied them for upcoming science classes, during which they were to be divided into groups and presented with a situation. Students then were expected to identify problems and find questions needing answers, apply scientific techniques to find the answers and share the results.

Busse was utilizing for the first time this school year the MiSTAR curriculumdesigned for sixth through eighth-graders. “The idea is to have students come up with the questions and then the answers by themselves,” he said.

Busse said he worked with the Kent ISD science team to bring the relatively new standards into more classrooms. MiSTAR is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, a set of teaching guidelines outlined in “A Framework for K-12 Science Education.”


Click here to read the full story in School News Network (June 11, 2019)

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