Integrating reading and science education: on developing and evaluating WEE Science
Two studies of a new science programme called WEE Science were conducted in two fifth-grade classrooms. The studies lasted for seven days in one of the classrooms and nine days in the other. At the beginning of the programme the students chose a science trade book from among the many that were selected and brought to the classroom. The students then formed groups based on the topics of the books and asked questions (Wondering) about the content. After choosing one of the 'wonderments' to pursue further, the students formed and implemented a plan for investigating (Exploring). In each classroom, each student explored, working in cooperating groups of two or more. The students then explained (Explaining) to a group of their peers what they had wondered and what and how they had explored. The students' wonderments, activities, plans, and explanations were recorded in a science notebook that had been designed for that purpose. In addition, the classrooms were videotaped while WEE Science was in progress. While the studies were successful in that most students eagerly participated in all phases of the project, some problems were encountered which created another round of wondering for the researchers. Some of these were: evaluating students' work, responding to science misconceptions of students, teaching some students to record observations in their notebooks, deciding where WEE Science would fit best in the curriculum, and anticipating its reception in the science education community.