ED 737: Understanding Project-based Science (3)

Educational Studies School of Education University of Michigan
Fall, 1997
Time:  Wednesday, 3 PM-6 PM
Room: 2211 School of Education
Joseph Krajcik, Associate Professor of Science Education
Office: 1323 SEB
Office hours: Thursday 3 PM-5 PM & by appointment
Phone: 747-0597 
E-mail:  krajcik@umich.edu

Course Overview:

Designed for everyone involved in one of the projects that has project-based science as the foundation --the Investigators' WorkShop, Middle Years Digital Library, Community Science Connection and Science Learning in Context, Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools -- ED 737 will allow us to explore key ideas at the foundation of project-based science.

We have made great progress in working with teachers and students in classrooms, in tool development, and in curriculum development. However, because of these successful efforts, we have not explored together the basic ideas underlying project-based science. We have used terms like "driving question, CERA, inquiry, collaboration, artifacts, and learner centered design" too loosely without examining what each of these important constructs mean. ED 737 is designed to help us build our understanding of the concepts behind our work.

Philosophy of Learning:

Meaningful learning occurs when people find solutions to authentic problems.

Driving questions of the course:

What are project-based science learning environments? What makes a good driving question? What can we realistically expect of students doing inquiry? How can technology support students do inquiry? What kind of scaffolds can teachers provide to support inquiry? What are all the tools in the Investigators' Workshop and what is the theory behind their design? How do you design a curriculum that has a project-based science structure? How can you promote professional development? What is the role of collaboration, enactment, reflection and adaptation in professional development? How do you create project-based science learning environments?

ED 737, Understanding Project-based Science, will allow us to explore these questions and many more.

Course Expectations:


Required Readings:


Course grades are determined from the results of products, presentations, and course participation. Although each assignment is weighted, I will assess your performance from a total perspective, taking into consideration your professional goals and background.

Summary of Class Requirements:


Percent of Grade

Tentative Due Date

Readings/discussion leader



Software/curriculum presentation



Project proposal

Oct. 28th

Course Project and presentation


11/26, 12/3, 12/15

Putting it together activity



Class participation




Session 1: Sept. 3rd, Class Overview

Session 2: Sept. 9th, Theoretical Foundations

Session 3: Sept. 17th, Theoretical Foundations

Session 4: Sept. 24th, Learning Technologies

Session 5: Oct. 1st, Learning Technologies

Session 6: Oct. 8th, How it all fits together

Session 7: Oct. 15th, Professional Development: CERA

Session 8: Oct. 22cd, Learning Technologies for Professional Development

Session 9: Oct. 28th, Synthesizing what we have learned

Session 10: Nov. 5th, A look at our research

Session 11: Nov. 12th, The Various Projects

Session 12: Nov. 19th, The Various Projects

Session 13 Nov. 26th, Project Presentations and Feedback

Session 14 Dec. 3rd, Project Presentations and Feedback

Other Web sites to check out:

Center for Highly Interactive Computing for Education

University of Michigan Digital Library: Teaching and Learning Project

Project-based Science Home page


Readings for Understanding Project based Science.

Joe's Home page