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Elementary students are currently not prepared to handle complex science concepts. The 2009 results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicate that more than half (66%) of fourth grade students perform below proficient level on the science assessment (National Center for Education Statistics, 2011). Duschl et al. (2007) state that too little commitment to or enthusiasm for science exists and that students are exposed to too many facts and not enough experiences to help them understand processes and big ideas. Although studies have shown that not only are young children able to perform abstract reasoning (Warren, 2005), but that they are developmentally ready for the complex ideas and relationships that make up scientific inquiry and the nature of science (Akerson & Donnelly, 2010).
The S4U curriculum addresses the issues presented by Duschel et al. (2007) by providing an inquiry-based online adaptation of the 5E Instructional Model. The S4U modules include interactive serious games for engagement, simulations to promote critical higher order thinking skills, teacher and parent curriculum support materials, embedded professional development, an effective scope and sequence, and a student portfolio/learning management system. S4U’s design is guided by two overarching principles: one is educational effectiveness for both students and teachers, the second is commercial success.

Here’s more reading on the efficacy and research related to S4U:

 

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