What does a MUSE classroom look like?
The Modeling for Understanding in Science
(MUSE) project is a collaboration among high school science teachers and
educational researchers. Our team
has participated in years of professional development and classroom research
efforts that focus on creating classrooms in which students can learn
both science and scientific practice through modeling.
Important aspects of such classrooms include:
- The teacher assumes the role of co-inquirer
in the classroom, engaging the students in scientific inquiry and
invigorating their investigations through questions and class discussions.
- Instruction emphasizes students
use of scientific models to understand, illustrate, and explain
key scientific ideas and data.
- The teacher continuously assesses students
understanding to determine the direction of instruction. Through
iterative, ongoing assessment of individuals and groups, the teacher
gives students constructive feedback to direct their learning.
- Assessment is authentic. Teachers
apply proven assessment tools (check lists and rubrics) to evaluate
student learning through a variety of tasks: student journals, homework
assignments, written exams or quizzes, oral exams, and group posters
2. Tasks & Curricular Materials
- Materials include rich data sets or
opportunities for students to generate their own data through observations
of natural phenomena.
- Students are engaged in interpreting
real data: organizing, seeking patterns, and attempting to explain
those patterns using a scientific or explanatory model.
- Students apply and sometimes revise
their models when attempting to explain unfamiliar phenomena.
- Individuals or groups regularly share
their modelsand evidence to support those modelswith
peers through poster sessions, presentations, or paper writing.
3. Norms of Behavior & Participation
- Students form a scientific community
to learn about, present, and discuss explanatory models (and the empirical
justification for those models) with their peers. Students collaboratively
gather data, discuss, observe, and present scientific arguments for
- Students hone their reasoning skills
through judging their own and other students explanatory models.
Students assess models to determine whether they fit with data, have
predictive power, and are consistent with other scientific models or
This site was developed by the National
Center for Mathematics and Science in the Wisconsin
Center for Education Research at the University