B.I.O.M.E.S—Building Interactive Opportunities to Meaningfully Engage Students

The focus of the B.I.O.M.E.S. workshop is to guide science educators through the BSCS 5E Instructional Model (Bybee et al., 2006) as a tool for them to discover ways that they can implement learning opportunities in their classrooms for their students to become active learners and critical thinkers of science, as well as develop pathways for their students to make relevant connections to science concepts and practices.

Intended audience
The intended audience includes science methods instructors and classroom science teachers. The B.I.O.M.E.S. workshop is designed for participants to interact with and move through the workshop components as student-learners in the science classroom, gaining insights as to how the instructional practices and student-centered tasks allow students to become active learners and thinkers of science. This workshop will demonstrate the use of science disciplinary literacy tools, exploratory activities, “collaborative engagement” (McDonald, 2019, p. 7; Metz, 2011), and other instructional practices that are practical and adaptable for science teachers and educators of various grade levels.

Regina McCurdy’s expertise includes years of experience as a highly effective secondary science teacher, instructional coach, and professional development facilitator. Her leadership and reflective instructional practices in these roles prepared her to pursue her degree as an educational specialist in K-8 math and science education, expanding her pedagogical insights, and skills to empower post-secondary instructors to incorporate more active learning and problem-based tasks into their classrooms by conducting professional development sessions and workshops in college learning spaces. Currently, Regina is pursuing her Ph.D. in the Science Education Program at the University of Central Florida, furthering her experience as she advises, mentors, and instructs pre-service and in-service teachers as part of the School of Teacher Education.

Learning objectives
• To engage science teacher educators in student-centered learning tasks as part of the BSCS 5E Instructional Model (Bybee et al., 2006).
• To help science teacher educators develop a deeper understanding of how critical and meaningful student engagement in the science classroom can be in developing students’ conceptual understanding of science as well as their role in contributing to the learning of science for themselves and others.
• To provide science teacher educators with the opportunity and space to reflect upon their own science instructional practices and misconceptions and to develop an outline of a science lesson that incorporates strategies intentionally geared to actively value and engage all learners.

Workshop description
The workshop emphasizes the use of instructional practices that elicit students’ ability to think critically and independently, make meaning of science concepts from their diverse backgrounds and cultural contexts, participate in collaborative discussions and tasks, and interact with science and engineering practices (NGSS Lead States, 2013) through the BSCS 5E Instructional Model (Bybee et al., 2006 ). Instructors will be called upon to critically reflect on their current instructional practices, while being challenged to view their the classroom learning environment from the perspective of scientists—being an observer/learner of their students—in order to better assess the learning process as it occurs and utilize students’ diverse backgrounds, experiences, preconceptions and misconceptions, and moments of discovery as key tools to guide their students in the process of making sense of science independently (DeBoer, 1991).

The B.I.O.M.E.S. workshop incorporates cooperative learning groups, disciplinary literacy strategies, various types of modeling, and technology integration as key instructional practices throughout the 5E Lesson.

Each participant will be given a B.I.O.M.E.S. Data Notebook which includes the workshop agenda, objectives, text materials, graphic organizers, and guided exercises they can use for completing certain tasks as well as documenting their insights, ideas, and questions throughout the workshop. Participants will be able to take home and use the notebooks and any products they create/design during the workshop.

The presenter will be available following the workshop to address participants’ feedback, concerns and ideas. She will also be readily available to discuss future opportunities for collaboration, continued support and learning. Regina McCurdy’s contact information including her email address, blog website, and Twitter handle will be provided on the B.I.O.M.E.S. Data Notebook, the presentation slides, and through her business cards which will be distributed to participants and their colleagues.