Introduction

Science Bits is a repository of multimedia science lessons that promote the change from a transmission educational model, based on the transmission of facts from teacher to learner, to a constructivist one, based on inquiry, critical thinking, discovery and learning-by-doing. To do so, Science Bits empowers teachers with science lessons that adhere to the constructivist 5E Instructional model, and promote real understanding as well as engage students in science learning.

All Science Bits lessons include dozens of multimedia and interactive resources (videos, animations, simulators, 3D models) and all the guides to teach and learn science by doing science.

Science Bits user-friendly Intranet allows teachers to create groups of students, assign them bundles of content, schedule exams, monitor student progress, and grade open-ended questions, among other features.

MAIN BENEFITS:
- Its an easy and effective way to implement the constructivist 5E Model of learning and learning-by-doing method: because Science is not a body of immutable facts that must be memorized, but an exciting way of obtaining new knowledge and understanding the world around us.

- It enriches teacher exposition and promotes interaction with students with its wide array of multimedia resources.

- Complete key resources and activity guides are provided at every step to help teachers successfully implement the lessons.

- Its simultaneously available in English and Spanish.

Synopsis

Objective

Technology is taking over schools in leaps and bounds. However, most of the new products contributing technology to the schools are still replicating an instructional model from the 19th century that relies on rote memorization of facts. In a connected world such as today's, this instructional model is clearly outdated.

The need for a new model has become apparent, and it is something pedagogics has been demanding for about a century: the application of active methodologies in the school through competency-based models that distance themselves from rote learning and memorization (in other words, less focus on contents and more on critical thinking). At the same time, the PISA diagnostic tests, which incidentally follow a competency-based system of evaluation rather than one based on memorization, are changing educational policies across all OECD countries.

However, teaching and learning through competencies is not easy. It requires the use of appropriate tools and instructional proposals. In light of this, Science Bits aims to provide teachers and students with the guidelines for a competency-based methodology and empower them with all the necessary resources to implement this methodology in a practical and realistic way. If the educational tool of the 19th century model of learning is the textbook, Science Bits offers the tools to teach and learn Science in the 21st century.

Approach

Science Bits lessons have a homogenous structure designed from a social constructivist perspective. They adhere to an inquiry based model and emphasize skills development. Every Science Bits lesson is clearly organized around a friendly 5E Instructional Model.

The 5E Instructional Model is a constructivist model with 5 stages: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. The first stage of the model starts by accessing the students'™ prior knowledge. Then, connections are established between this prior knowledge and new knowledge, which is acquired by means of investigation and discoveries. The 5E model provides direct instruction of ideas that students would not be able to discover on their own, as well as opportunities to demonstrate understanding through practical application.

Developed by the Biological Science Curriculum Study center (BSCS), the 5E Model has been used since the 1980s in many elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States. Case studies of the 5E instructional model used against other forms of science instruction provide proof of an increased mastery of subject matter, the development of a more sophisticated scientific reasoning, and an increased interest in science.

Engagament

No one learns without interest. That's why Science Bits' 5E units start with a motivating video that presents a situation familiar to the student and exposes some initial concepts. Then, an activity about the video activates the student's prior knowledge.

All learning objectives aim at skills development through virtual and hands-on practices, and focus on the achievement of crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas. The nature of science and research is integrated into every phase of a learning-by-doing approach to science learning.

Science Bits empowers teachers with science lessons that promote real understanding as well as engage students in science learning.

Impact

Science Bits was published in January 2014 and today is used by more than 50.000 students in USA, Canada, Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, UK, Ireland, India, Thailand, UAE, Australia and New Zealand.

95% of teachers who have used Science Bits have reported an improve in engagement.

TESTIMONIALS:
- Reviewer of Academics' Choice Awards 2014: "Wow! Science Bits is a Science teacher's dream. There are too many good things to say about this ed-tech tool to cover in this comments section, but what I will say is goodbye textbooks and rote memorization and hello to scientific exploration and discovery!"

- Tanya Eddins, a Homeschool Buyers co-op member: "Science Bits is really great! I used a different program last year and it was like learning a non-fiction course, that is, boring and not engaging. However, with Science Bits, my child is truly engaged and ready to learn. In my humble experience, the 5E approach is exactly the way children respond best to learning. The quality of content and delivery is truly excellent. One of the very best homeschool purchases ever! We will mostly likely continue to use this until our kids graduate from high school. I have also recommended this program to colleagues working in the office of our state board of education."

- Jordi Bas, Teacher and head of science at Saint Marc's School of Sarrià  (Barcelona): "My students are always asking me to use Science Bits. Innovative, appealing, inclusive... Students get to learn without being aware that they are actually studying. That's why they are always asking me to use Science Bits. The learning method and assessment of knowledge acquired that this product favors, with its focus on skills development and application of knowledge, is a strong incentive for students. It has been a while since they last had to think and draw conclusions in such a fascinating manner."

Next Steps

Behind Science Bits project there is a multidisciplinary team of scientists, science teachers, educators, programmers, video editors, and multimedia professionals. Our goal is to provide teachers with tools that promote a high quality science education around the world.

Other Information

PDF - Click to download
PDF - Click to download
YouTube Video - Upgrade Your Science Class
Project Website - Science Bits Web
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