IQWST (Pronounced I-Quest)

The goals of the Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST) project include developing, testing, and revising the next generation of middle school curricula that support urban, suburban and rural students in learning science content based on national standards.

In Phase 1, we designed, developed and tested two units for middle school students, as well as a general design framework. Together the units engage students in one semester of ambitious, meaningful, inquiry-based science learning across two science disciplines, chemistry and biology. The chemistry unit, "How do I make new stuff from old stuff?" (Referred to as "chemistry" or "stuff") engages students in the study of substances and properties, the nature of chemical reactions, and the conservation of matter. The biology unit, "What will survive?" (Referred to as "biology" or "survival") engages students in the study of species' interactions in ecosystems, including structure/function, variation, competition, and natural selection.

In Phase 2, the IQWST team will continue to develop middle school materials that are focused on learning goals, using design principles that promote student learning. Working with national standards documents and the learning literature, we selected or derived enduring ideas that represent central clusters of standards, and sequenced them in a draft version of our scope and sequence for the IQWST curriculum. There are four strands, for physics, earth science, biology, and chemistry, distributed across three years of middle school (grades 6-8). Each design team will follow the IQWST learning-goals-design model developed in Phase I and the IQWST design principles. The "Stuff" and "Survival" units will serve as models for development.