Science may be described as the attempt to give good accounts of the patterns in nature. The result of scientific investigation is an understanding of natural processes…. Overall, the key criterion of science is that it provides a clear, rational, and succinct account of a pattern in nature….Massachusetts State Frameworks for Science and Technology.
This was the overarching goal of a recent workshop that New York State Master Teachers James Brown and Stacey Sebert from Sand Creek Middle School attended at UMass Amherst. Participants explored the processes of pattern formation in biological and physical systems, and learned how to recognize, analyze and predict (RAP) patterns based on this understanding. Many hands-on, inquiry based labs were completed during this time that can easily be completed in the middle school classroom.
The instructional leaders included Prof. Benjamin Davidovitch, UMass Physics; Prof. Narayanan Menon, UMass Physics; Jennifer Welborn, Amherst Regional Middle School; and Wayne Kermenski, Marlboro Elementary School. Both teachers felt this workshop opened their eyes to seeing many natural patterns in nature and are looking forward to utilizing these ideas in the classroom so students can have similar experiences.