How do I implement Aha!Science?
Because Aha!Science is Web-delivered, students can access it wherever they have Internet access and a computer, allowing them to continue to hone their skills.
Whole Class Instruction
- Two components of Aha!Science are most easily implemented through whole class instruction. Instruction Modules are designed to have the teacher as an integral part of the instruction. Because an Instruction Module is an animated form of direct instruction, students can interact online. When you project the module for the entire class to view, Aha!Science allows you to pause at any time to ask students questions or to have them demonstrate their learning. Preview an Instruction Module before using it with the class so you can anticipate questions that may arise.
- You may also use Instruction Modules to integrate note-taking exercises. Have students take notes during the instruction and then together review what concepts and notes were critical. Students often have difficulty pulling out important facts and effectively recording them. Modeling note-taking helps students build skills in identifying and recording important science concepts, reinforcing those skills, as well as critical thinking and language arts skills.
- Activities are designed to be implemented as a whole class. Because Activities are written and delivered as a PDF, they are not completed using the computer. Often the Activity is completed with the teacher providing the instructions before students begin, and then students work individually, in small groups, or through whole-class discussions. Activities are complete with materials lists, step-by-step instructions, student worksheets, and scoring guide and rubric to maximize project and experiment-based science instruction.
- Most of the curriculum components of Aha!Science can be implemented in small groups. While you will be involved to guide inquiry, Aha!Science allows for the flexibility for each student to build the skills specifically he or she needs to improve his or her analytical and scientific process skills. Small groups are also a good strategy for exposing students to a Game for the first time. Having students play the Games in small groups will encourage them to share and build on problem-solving strategies.
- Aha!Science Lessons work best when students work independently. The Lessons parallel the Instruction Modules. Each Lesson reinforces one or two key science concepts presented in the Instruction Module and asks students to delve deeper into the concept through instruction and interactive components. By having students work individually through the lessons, the data provided in the reports will be meaningful and allow you to follow the learning for individual students. Games and Simulations are engaging environments where students can apply and practice learning, and while you can pair students during the initial use of each game or simulation, individual students will benefit from the individualized feedback when working independently. Game success is also reported for teachers – reports show number of total attempts, number of correct attempts, and time spent on the game and each level. The Journal option lets students reflect and explore their learning through prompts. They demonstrate their understanding of the scientific method through reflection, including observation, analysis, and process summarization. This tool creates strong integration of technology as well as a platform for cross-curricular connections.
- A computer lab is a great place to implement small groups or individual instruction using Aha!Science. When you don’t have enough computers in your own classroom, turn to the computer lab when you are ready for students to work independently.
- Many schools have mobile labs for use in the classroom. Integrate a mobile lab into your classroom for those topics that are particularly challenging for students to learn. Using a mobile lab works just like the computer lab: each student has the opportunity to work through Games and Lessons while receiving individual feedback throughout the learning.
- Schools in many states are partnering with cities and youth organizations to provide after-school programs to support student in remediation/intervention and for acceleration. Aha!Science meets both of these needs. Struggling students can partner to work together through the units they have covered in your class. For excelling students, have them work at the current grade or on higher-level topics.
Library and Community Centers
- Encourage parents to take their students to libraries or community centers to access the technology if they do not have Internet access at home. Suggest that students log into the system and to use a Lesson to teach their parents a concept or for the family to collectively play a Game or Simulation you have already used in class.
- Home is an excellent opportunity for students to gain additional time on learning science concepts. For example, choose a Game or Simulation that students have already worked through in class. Encourage them to “raise their score.” Home use also offers an opportunity to engage parents in their students’ learning.