This paper describes design of an interactive learning environment to increase student achievement in middle schools by addressing students’ preconceptions, and promoting purposeful social collaboration, distributed cognition, and contextual learning. The paper presents a framework that guided our design efforts to immerse all students in a progression of guided-inquiry hands-on activities. Students find compelling reasons to learn by responding to authentic science-based challenges, both in simulations and hands-on activities, based on specific instructional objectives from the national standards.
Balasubramanian, N., Wilson, B. G., & Cios, K. (2005, July). Innovative methods of teaching and learning science and engineering in middle schools. EISTA 05 Proceedings (Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Education and Information Systems, Technologies and Applications (EISTA) and the International Conference on Cybernetics and Information Technologies, Systems and Applications (CITSA), 1, 174-178. Awarded Best Paper for Education of Science and Engineering.