WISE projects engage students in the methods of real scientists. Through various activities and scaffolding tools, students collaborate to explore issues of social importance; they pose relevant questions and make predictions; they experiment with computational models; they work to evaluate and distinguish discrepant information; and they construct evidence-based explanations through reflection and discussion. From WISE's inquiry-based projects, students not only learn skills that prepare them to be successful in science, they also learn skills necessary to be responsible, critical thinking citizens.
The WISE project library offers a collection of curriculum units that address key conceptual difficulties students encounter in biology, chemistry, earth sciences, and physics. These projects are designed to supplement teachers' core curricular scope and sequence, and each has been iteratively refined through classroom-based research, and demonstrated improvements in students' understanding. So whether teachers decide to use all the projects or just one, our growing library offers a rich and reliable resource that is being continually developed and refined.
WISE library projects have been carefully crafted to fulfill core California and US national standards in reading, writing, math, and science at the middle and high school levels. Our projects can be also be easily adapted to address local standards. WISE units take a multidisciplinary approach to science, so that even as students learn inquiry by interacting with simulations and visualizations and by interpreting and articulating scientific evidence, they do so through activities that emphasize essential skills in reading, writing, and multimedia literacy.
A WISE teacher account offers a suite of integrated tools that help teachers monitor students' real-time progress, facilitate grading and giving feedback, and automatically score embedded assessments. These tools are continually refined through collaborations with practicing teachers who understand the real challenges of managing modern classrooms. By facilitating these necessary but time-consuming tasks, WISE teachers are free to focus on what makes them indispensable: providing quality instruction to individual students.
WISE is the product of more than 20 years of research on teaching and learning with educational technologies. Through our collaborations with teachers, administrators, technology designers, and education researchers, we have refined a set of principles, which guide the design of all WISE curriculum materials and tools. This means that when you use WISE, you can be assured that what you're using is grown from a solid foundation, based on cutting technology, advised by real teachers' experiences, and tested in classrooms with real students.
WISE researchers collaborate with software design experts to create innovative curriculum-integrated technologies. Interactive visualizations and simulationsl applications for drawing, diagramming and animating; and tools for collaborative brainstorming, discussion, and idea management are each designed to develop in students the inquiry skills important for lifelong learning. You can find them featured in any of the existing classroom-tested WISE library projects, or add and customize your own using the WISE authoring tool.
WISE projects introduce students to complex science concepts through personally and socially relevant topics. Students determine the structure of detergent molecules by helping to clean the Gulf oil spill; they come to understand mitosis by investigating candidate cures for cancer; and they explore orbital and projectile motion by optimizing a path for deorbiting a space shuttle. Each project uses a classroom-tested pattern of instruction that values the ideas students bring with them, helps them connect new information to their personal experiences, and integrates their various ideas into a coherent understanding of science.
Individual students differ in their experiences, their interests, and their abilities. Some may excel at writing, while others may have a penchant for drawing. Some may speak multiple languages fluently, while may be learning English as a second or third language. That's why WISE provides a variety of tools, activity patterns, and instructional scaffolds that afford multiple ways for expressing and assessing understanding. That way, no students' abilities go unrecognized, and all have the chance to succeed.
WISE gives more teachers and students the opportunity to do inquiry-based science. WISE Projects put students in the roles of scientists and make difficult concepts accessible both for teachers to teach, and for students to learn. With tools and activities to support inquiry, WISE helps students see themselves as capable of doing science. WISE curricula allow students to realize that, no matter their backgrounds and abilities, science can be a potential future career.
That's right! WISE subsists on generous support from the National Science Foundation, which means it's available for anyone with a computer and internet connection. Driven by an active community of technology developers, WISE is continually being expanded and improved. Access the WISE project library, or customize your own technology-enhanced curricula. Let WISE's powerful teaching tools make grading and classroom management easier, so you can focus on quality individual interactions with your students. Bring science inquiry into the classroom, the museum, the after-school, or the home-school environment. Sign up for a free WISE account and join our growing community of teachers, researchers, and software developers!