FabLearn Sobral: An integrative approach to design the science curriculum of Sobral
In recent years, there has been an important shift in science education, and major efforts have been made to develop new science standards worldwide. These changes emphasize a series of higher order skills and learning expectations essential for effective K-12 STEM learning, however the implementation remains an important challenge. Studies have shown that if the goal is to develop a sustainable innovative curriculum, the document itself is not sufficient, and it is the process of implementation that must be prioritized (Fishman et al., 2003). In this talk, I will present preliminary findings and insights from the first phase of the “Sobral Science Project”, a program aiming to develop a curriculum and improve science learning as part of the commitment of the city of Sobral (Ceará, Brazil) to achieve levels of excellence in basic education (Blikstein et al., forthcoming). We describe here the proof-of-concept phase, which included as an integral part of the curriculum development process: (1) a professional development teaching working group, in which teachers in charge of the new curriculum design worked together with researchers to redesign and apply their own lesson plans using principles of modern science education and backwards planning and (2) implementation of FabLearn labs, as resources for effectively integrating science and engineering practices in the classrooms. These combined approaches offered this group of teachers the opportunity to experiment and reflect on the changes they intend for the curriculum, and provided the basis to become a prototype that will be scaled up to the entire city’s educational system.