Science Expo Curriculum Now Available for All TeachersPosted by Nick Gray on January 31, 2013
The school science fair is meant to be an exciting way to bring traditional science curriculum to life. But many teachers feel the focus has shifted too much toward the spectacle of a culminating event and away from the process of experiential learning.
At Bank Street’s School for Children (SFC), teachers have replaced the fair with Science Expo, which takes place in-class over the course of six to ten weeks. The program emphasizes original thinking, inquiry, and scientific investigation throughout the curriculum in 5th to 8th grade classes. And it successfully incorporates math and language acquisition while teaching scientific principles applicable to the whole curriculum.
This integrative style of learning is something at which Bank Street has always excelled. Now, SFC and Bank Street’s Professional Development Office (PDO) are unveiling an online curriculum guide as a free resource for teachers everywhere to adopt the Science Expo approach in their own schools.
Science Expo was developed by Holley Adcock, a former SFC teacher with 40 years of classroom teaching experience. “This piece of curriculum epitomizes the constructivist, Bank Street model,” says Holley.
Wendy Apfel, the School’s Educational Technology Coordinator, aided Wendy in making the full program accessible via a wiki—a collaboratively-built website. Wendy explains,
“One of my roles at Bank Street is to support teachers' implementation of technology as a learning tool for students that deepens their connection to curriculum. We developed the Science Expo wiki so that other teachers in the School for Children could easily use the curriculum. But we think it has turned out to be a great resource, so we wanted to make it available for other schools as well.”
Wendy and Holley both see great potential for Expo in other schools—either as a replacement for science fairs or as an approach to make fairs more meaningful.
“It deals with everything from group formation to evaluation,” Holley says. “Many teachers are required to do science fairs, and Expo provides a way to make this an integral, student-centered part of the curriculum.”
The Basics of Science Expo
- Completed entirely in school
- Allows for a flexible time period - 6 to 10 weeks
- Students work in groups of 2 to 4
- Offers developmentally appropriate, accessible entry to scientific inquiry
- Can be used with any scientific content
- Can be supported through computer networks
- Can result in projects which improve some aspect of the school or even the community as a whole
- Can be thoroughly documented and assessed
Access the Curriculum
Full access to the curriculum, including a complete suite of documentation, implementation, and assessment tools, is available free to all educators.
To receive access, go to the Eventbrite page and register. A login and password to the resource will be emailed to you within 24 business hours.
Professional development for schools or groups who would like additional support implementing science expo is also available. Contact Joy Ellebbane, Director of PD, for more information, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-875-4707.tagged curriculum, science, stem, technology,