Scientific Inquiry a RIP~ing Success at Hawaii's Kaimuki Complex K-12 Schools

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One year after a scientific inquiry-based science education program, the "Research Investigation Process" (RIP), was introduced into the Kaimuki Complex of schools in Honolulu, Hawaii, evaluative data indicate a profoundly positive impact on teacher instruction and student learning of K-12 science.

The Research Investigation Process (RIP ®), a research-based science education program for kindergarten through high school, changes the way teachers and students think and learn about science. The RIP was introduced to teachers and their students during the initial year (2006-2007) of 'RIP~ing at Science in Kaimuki Complex,' a federally-funded initiative supported through a competitive Title II Federal Math and Science Partnership (MSP) Grant targeting improvements in science and mathematics instruction in K-12 schools.

The RIP®, distributed and supported in schools by ANOVA Science Education Corporation (ANOVA Science; http://www.ScientificInquiry.com; http://www.anovascience.com), emphasizes the thinking processes that scientists use to engage in their inquiries about the world. "Through our program, students learn standards-based science concepts by testing hypotheses related to objects and events that are interesting and important to them," stated Dr. Landsman, developer of the program and president of ANOVA Science. "The design of the RIP invites relevance into the learning experience as students initiate investigations based on their own interests, thus becoming participants in the development of the science curriculum aligned to standards."

One year of participation in this Kaimuki project has led to enthusiastic and scientifically-literate teachers and student learners across all grade and skill levels. Assessments administered throughout the year to the teachers and students involved in the project indicated that both showed increases in confidence in using scientific inquiry to learn about science. Both also showed sharp increases in their knowledge and understanding of how scientists conduct their investigations, especially the mathematics that are involved in the decision-making process in scientific inquiry. According to Dr. Alan Ramos, Complex Area School Renewal Specialist for Kaimuki Complex, "The students' writing and reports indicate more use of critical thinking, and their methods for conducting experiments are rigorous due to their understanding of data gathering and organizing, as well as their interpretations made from the data."

The Kaimuki Complex schools are prevalently Title I schools containing a high number of ELL and academically-challenged students. According to MSP project evaluator Dr. Bob Pergolizzi, "This is a highly successful program with regard to science education as evidenced by an impressive display of benchmark improvements in a traditionally difficult-to-reach population." Special Education students have also gained in their knowledge and skill in scientific inquiry evidenced by measures of performance on assessments administered periodically throughout the school year according to Dr. Pergolizzi's evaluation report for year one of the project.

When asked what he observed to be the impact of the RIP professional development on the teachers who had participated in the project, Dr. Ramos stated, "Many of our elementary teachers do not have formal training in the content of science. In self-assessments conducted prior to the RIP Program, many of the teachers indicated their knowledge level, competence and confidence level in teaching science in their classrooms was not very high. In the past year, since the inception of the RIP Program, our teachers who received training in the RIP Program have increased their understanding of Hawaii's science standards and their skills level in science has increased tremendously. This is evidenced by the observations made in their classrooms and the products of their students in science projects last year and this year."

According to Ramos, "Monthly walk-through of all classrooms has revealed a definite improvement: more student work is being displayed and there is an increased excitement for learning." "This partnership raised the enthusiasm of the teachers in our complex and also enabled them to have a 'can do' attitude about teaching science to students because of their increased knowledge, competence and confidence."

Teachers also expressed positive attitudes regarding the relevance and rigor that the RIP is bringing into their classrooms. For example, National Board Certified and Hawaii's 2007 State Teacher of the Year, 10th grade Kaimuki High School science teacher Jami Muranaka stated, "Many of my students have never had the opportunity to participate in open inquiries before coming to my class. When asked to make observations and formulate a research question, they are dumbfounded because in the past they have always been told what the research question was and how to investigate it. I think the fact that my students can actually formulate a research question and construct a testable hypothesis on their own is evidence that they are being challenged to think critically."

Based on his analysis and overall review of the combined quantitative and qualitative data generated by both teachers and students, Dr. Pergolizzi concluded that "The primary goals of the MSP 'to increase the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science by enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers' are clearly being met by the RIP~ing at Science in Kaimuki Complex program." "As an individual with concerns about the future of science education in America and around the world, I would like to see the RIP program broadly implemented elsewhere without delay."

RIP is a trademark or registered trademark and service mark or registered service mark, of ANOVA Science Education Corporation, ANOVA Science Publishing, and Dr. Robert Landsman in the U.S. and/or other countries. ANOVA Science Education Corporation assists schools in implementing scientific research-based science education programs, providing students with critical thinking and decision-making tools for life-long learning skills that support economic growth and the maintenance of security in the USA. As sole distributor of products and services associated with the Research Investigation Process (RIP ®) inquiry-based science education program for K-12 schools, the contribution of ANOVA Science's vision, services and products toward the nation's movement for science education reform has been recognized and is well received by national and state education organizations. ANOVA Science's activities and services include professional development workshops, seminars and projects; teacher coaching and mentoring; curriculum development addressing state and national standards; and publishing education materials available online at http://www.anovascience.com or http://www.ScientificInquiry.com.

For more information about the RIP or to speak with Dr. Landsman directly, please call 808-741-8512.

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