Modeling for Understanding in Science Education

Where We Work

Our teacher resources are being developed through our work at Monona Grove High School in Monona, Wisconsin. The Monona Grove School District serves the City of Monona and the Town and Village of Cottage Grove. The 2,636 students in the district are divided among four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The high school is home to 764 students. Because of its proximity to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the district has benefited from a number of cooperative efforts to improve K-12 education in subject areas such as mathematics and science.

The science program at the high school includes two core courses, Science I and II, that are taken by all students, typically in their freshman and sophomore years. A curricular goal during this time is to emphasize nature of science concepts. This includes practice in analyzing data, working collaboratively, reasoning, and justifying scientific claims in ways which are analogous to how scientists work. The first-year curriculum concentrates on the description of systems of the natural world, including our planetary system, cells, and atoms. Topics within the second year include the origin and continuity of life and how organisms as systems maintain homeostasis.

The elective courses, open to juniors and seniors, include a third course, Science III, which looks at equilibrium in physical and chemical systems. Science IV is a selection of nine-week mini-courses including organic chemistry, qualitative analysis, astronomy, nuclear physics, mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics and acoustics, genetics, comparative anatomy, and evolution. Semester and year-long courses may also be elected in the subject areas of biotechnology and environmental science, respectively.

Copyright 2002 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System