Science and Inquiry Learning in Classrooms


The Science Inquiry Learning in Classrooms (SILC) is a 3-year professional development program initiated in June 2008 for which MLC is the fiscal agent. SILC is funded through an ESEA Title II Part B Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) Grant awarded by the Montana Office of Public Education (OPI). The program involves two cohorts of 30 grade 3 - 6 teachers from Bozeman and Helena area: Cohort #1 began August 2008 and Cohort #2 begins in August 2009. The focus is on science content and inquiry learning based on the Montana Standards. Integrated into the curriculum and pedagogy are elements of the Native American culture. Educational components include: summer orientation, three hour Inquiry Academies once a month, National Science Teacher Association SciPacks accessed via Internet. Connecting this geographically diverse group of teachers (Livingston to Phillipsburg) is content and pedagogical interaction using WebCT technology hosted by the MSU Burns Center.

Helena area teachers learn about batteries and wires through inquiry.

Bozeman area teachers problem solve in groups.

Two instructional coaches funded by SILC, Bozeman District and Helena School District work to assist implementation by SILC teachers on a daily basis. Key instructional leadership includes: Elisabeth Swanson (Director, MSU Science-Mathematics Resource Center), Walter Fleming (Head, MSU Native American Studies Dept.), Greg Francis (Physics Dept.) and Irene Grimberg (MSU Physics and SMRC).