In collaboration with MassBioEd’s BioTeach program, Science from Scientists (SfS) has created a unique professional development opportunity for middle and high school teachers. The Aligned Curricular and Career Experiences in Secondary Science (ACCESS) program brings teachers, administrators and scientists together to provide teachers with vertically aligned, hands-on life science lab sequences and career experiences for students in grades 7-10. Lab sequences cover topics such as biochemistry, photosynthesis, or genetics and include separate lesson plans and activities for middle school and high school audiences that introduce and then later build upon key concepts and lab techniques. ACCESS hosts workshops for teams of middle and high school teachers to learn and practice the lab sequences of their choice, provides access to the materials, equipment, and reagents, and supports teachers in the classroom when they go to implement the labs for the first time.
To highlight the real-world application of these lab sequences, college and career experiences for students are coordinated by the ACCESS administration team (two staff each from SfS and MassBioEd). These experiences include in-school presentations from science professionals or field trips to relevant companies or college campuses.
Together, middle school and high school teachers, school administrators, scientists, and the ACCESS administration team form a Community of Practice that meets throughout the year to implement the lab sequences and select aligned college and career experiences. This Community of Practice allows relevant teams to support students by teaching skills and concepts in a student-centered way over the course of several years, increasing interest promoting confidence in doing life science.
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