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The Architecture of Life

The Architecture of Life is a hands-on, investigative biology course for elementary and middle school teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District that integrates adult level content learning with classroom appropriate pedagogy.

Perhaps the most important concept that I learned is that process is more important that fact retrieval in science education. I know that even though I am not a biologist, I can teach science. I have a better understanding for the subject than I had at the beginning of the week. It is my job as a teacher to get the students to be the experts by learning how to think and learn as scientists. I think I can begin to do that now in my classroom.

- SFUSD teacher

The things that I learned this week are more valuable to me than any other science courses I’ve taken throughout my schooling. This also might be the case because everything that I learned can be used in the classroom that I teach. It is meaningful and it’s something I could take ownership in and be proud of.

- SFUSD teacherDue to funding limitations, SEP is no longer able to offer the Current Science Seminar Series. We are actively seeking new funding sources and hope to offer a similar seminar series in the near future

Due to funding limitations, SEP is no longer able to offer the Architecture of Life course. We are actively seeking new funding sources and hope to offer the course again soon.

This 30-hour course is grounded in the California Science Content Standards and is an exploration of core concepts in biology.

Teacher participants investigate…

  • common structures and their functions in living things
  • nutrition and excretion
  • photosynthesis
  • respiration
  • development of an organism from an embryo
  • movement and sensation

And learn to…

  • conduct investigations
  • design experiments
  • analyze data and make conclusions
  • discuss results with peers
  • think critically
  • use strategies to engage all learners in science and support English language development through science

An article based in part on the Architecture of Life course is "Injecting Inquiry into Photosynthesis Investigations," Science Scope, September 2008 by Irene Salter, Rebecca Smith, and Katherine Nielsen.

 
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