Science in the Schoolyards of Detroit, Cairo, and Philadelphia: What are the seven Ss of success?

Colloquium | March 4 | 4-5:30 p.m. | Berkeley Way West, Room 1215, 2121 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94720

 Nancy Butler Songer, Drexel University, School of Education

 Graduate School of Education

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently released a report providing guidelines on how to teach secondary science that build on what we know about how students develop deep conceptual understandings through the placement of investigation and design at the center of all activities. This presentation will present three stories and empirical research results associated with middle and high school-based systemic reform with investigation and design projects as the focus of the reform. Where was systemic change realized, and where did it falter? Drawing from these research-based stories, what are the seven Ss of secondary science success?

About the Speaker. Nancy Butler Songer is a Distinguished University Professor in the School of Education at Drexel University and a Visiting Scholar at Gooru.org in Redwood City, CA. Her work focuses on the design of education innovations for promoting critical thinking in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), environmental awareness, and increased participation by youth in science careers.

Dr. Songer's work is focused in these areas: (1) Urban Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. For the past 22 years, Songer and her research teams created and evaluated comprehensive learning environments focused on critical thinking in STEM disciplines. This work included the original design of curricular units, customized technologies, assessment tools, and teacher professional development in interdisciplinary STEM topics (climate change, biodiversity). Research results yielded significant learning gains, for example, among Detroit Public School students (Songer, Kelcey, Gotwals, 2009). As Dean of the School of Education at Drexel University, Songer led urban STEM initiatives investigating new definitions of public school-university partnerships with several west Philadelphia public schools. (2) Small and powerful technologies for learning. Recognized by software designers and others, Songer and colleagues begin with professional STEM tools and codify the necessary thought processes to transform the tool into a high-integrity learning experience for non-scientific or younger audiences. Using these techniques, Songer and collaborators developed eight learning technology tools and eight curricular units for 4-12th grade students that support age-appropriate complex thinking about grand ideas in science. (3) Sound educational research to provide strong empirical evidence of growth spurts and plateaus, as well as documentation of how and when complex inquiry reasoning occurs among students.

Dr. Songer is a Distinguished University Professor of the School of Education at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Songer was the Dean of the School of Education at Drexel University for four years and a Professor at The University of Michigan for 18 years (1996-2014). Songer earned a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis, a MS in Developmental Biology From Tufts University and a PhD in Science Education and Learning Technologies from the University of California, Berkeley, working with Marcia Linn.

 goldwasser@berkeley.edu