Talent Development Middle Grades program at Johns
Hopkins has developed and is testing a curriculum on the
history of science, based on the first volume in well-known
author Joy Hakim's new The Story of Science
A contract to publish the teaching materials for
Aristotle Leads the Way (Smithsonian, 2004) is
pending with Smithsonian Press, publisher of Hakim's
planned six-volume science series. Aristotle Leads the
Way is a narrative of scientific discovery from
Mesopotamia to the Middle Ages.
The pilot program is being launched in two New Jersey
middle schools. About 100 students at Winslow Township
Middle School in Atco chose the class as an eighth-grade
elective. Approximately 35 eighth-graders at Friends School
of Mullica Hill will also use the lessons. In addition,
several home schools are participating.
"Because of Hakim's extensive following in the home
school community, and the continuing growth of this
movement, we felt it was important to solicit input from
home-schooling parents," said Maria Garriott, who developed
the curriculum with Cora Teter at the
Center for Social
Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins.
The curriculum crosses several disciplines, covering
the advancement of astronomy, chemistry and physics.
Aristotle Leads the Way also includes a strong
emphasis on mathematics, and embedded reading strategies to
help students understand the challenging material. Each
lesson suggests additional activities to link science to
music, language arts, history and other subjects. A
recurring feature is a time-traveling character, Professor
Quest, who appears in each lesson to summarize the main
point, usually with wit. To allow researchers to gauge the
curriculum's impact, all students will take a test before
the semester-long pilot and another at the end.
Hakim approached Douglas MacIver, director of the
Middle Grades program, about developing the science
materials. Garriott and Teter had helped develop curriculum
for Hakim's 10-volume A History of US, and Hakim
wanted similar materials for her science books. "It's
especially important to provide support materials, such as
lesson plans and assessments, to enable teachers to adapt
Hakim's narrative for classroom use," Teter said. "Our goal
is to build on the text and provide everything the teacher
needs for exciting, engaging classroom instruction."
Garriott and Teter are also completing lessons for the
second book, Newton at the Center (Smithsonian,
2005), which picks up the quest for scientific learning in
the 15th century and ends at the dawn of the 20th.