Transforming ALL Students into Scientists
This program’s “learning-by-doing” pedagogical approach engages students as active learners and makes science come alive in ways that research has shown best support the broad range of learners found in every classroom. Students investigate questions relevant to their own daily lives by conducting investigations, collecting and analyzing data, developing and using models to explain phenomena, and engaging in healthy debate from evidence.
IQWST® Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology has the flexibility to meet all unique state standards, while also aligning with Next Generation Science Standards.
Referencing real-world science with which students from all backgrounds are familiar allows students to value science learning, and apply what they are learning to their everyday lives.
Students Learn Like Scientists and Engineers
Students pursue their own original questions in units that integrate the fundamentals of Physical Sciences, Life Science, and Earth & Space Science.
In person and online teacher support, educational webinars, lesson modeling, and much more is provided by our Professional Learning Team.
Need more info to decide if this the right curriculum for your district or school?
IQWST engages all students with shared phenomena, investigations, and opportunities to draw upon and connect their everyday life experiences with science content. Students experience phenomena firsthand through hands-on investigations manipulating science materials whenever possible to understand and explain the phenomena.
Additional Versions Available:
IQWST® was developed over a decade by science education, literacy, and learning science specialists from the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, Michigan State University, and the Weizmann Institute of Science, supported by funding from the National Science Foundation.
At IQWST’s foundation is the latest research on how students learn and how they learn science in particular, the very research on which the Framework for K–12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards are also based.
IQWST utilizes Circular Coherence - revising and building on ideas across time. This provides students with opportunities to develop, reinforce, and apply their understandings on an ongoing basis throughout their middle school years.
Driving Question Board (DQB)
A powerful visual tool that puts students at the center of their learning experience! The Driving Question Board is a large poster board prominently displaying the driving question in each unit for exploring phenomena at its center, surrounded by sub-questions that represent the main learning goals. It’s a collaborative creation, jointly constructed by both students and the teacher at the start of the unit, and it evolves throughout the learning process.
Instructional Design with Teachers in Mind
IQWST Teacher Edition includes lesson plans, discussion questions, differentiation strategies, and background information for each unit, and Video Tutorials on activity set ups are also available.
Remote Learning Options
The Remote Learning Lesson Plans condense what is taught in each activity with specific teaching recommendations and identify the digital resources, print resources, and materials needed to teach and learn outside of the classroom.
Claim, Evidence, & Reasoning (CER)
The CER Framework was born and developed in IQWST as a result of teachers’ desire to better support their students as scientific thinkers and writers.
ONPAR Digital Assessments to Effectively Gauge Student Learning
An innovative 3-dimensional assessment system designed to be accessible to diverse students, and to provide rich formative information to both teachers and students.
- State Testing Prep: ONPAR digital assessments have been found to be beneficial by many districts in providing student experience with the format and content of state tests.
IQWST 3.0 Units
IQWST units are arranged in a recommended sequence to optimize coherence and build content understanding over time. However, many districts have successfully developed additional sequences to meet the needs of their students and districts.
Lessons are organized into thematic units such as Can I Believe My Eyes? (Physical Science) and What's Going on Inside Me? (Life Science), that support students as they build an understanding of core ideas in science as well as understanding and use of scientific practices.
In order to contextualize core ideas about the nature of matter, this unit focuses on the everyday life experience of smelling odors whether close to or far from one’s nose. As students investigate this and other phenomena, they develop models of how people smell odors and use their models to explain and predict what happens in various scenarios. Rather than simply accepting a particle model (that matter is comprised of molecules, which are comprised of atoms), students come to understand this core science idea over time as the only way to explain that air can be compressed, expanded, added to, and subtracted from a container. Students then use the particle model to explain why substances have different properties, and to explain the behavior of particles in each state of matter and at a substance’s melting and boiling points during phase change, including the relationship between the movement of molecules and temperature. Students’ model of matter, which is represented both as a drawing and a written explanation, represents a conceptual understanding that “all matter is made of particles in constant motion,” a concept revisited in future IQWST units in physics, chemistry, life science, and Earth science and central to all future science learning.
The Activate Learning Digital Platform (ALDP) hosts the interactive digital edition of the IQWST teacher and student curriculum materials.
Featuring an intuitive user experience, teachers have everything they need to Plan, Teach, Assign, and Assess lessons in a platform that is integrated with leading SIS rostering and Learning Management Systems such as Google Classroom, Schoology, and Canvas.
New! Announcing the new Lesson Launch feature for IQWST 3.0 available on the Activate Learning Digital Platform. Watch the video here.
About The Authors
IQWST® was developed through grant funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The development team has combined expertise in science education, literacy education, and the learning sciences. The team was led by Principal Investigators Joe Krajcik, Ph.D., Brian Reiser, Ph.D., LeeAnn Sutherland, Ph.D., and David Fortus, Ph.D.
*This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. DRL 0439352 and ESI 0101780. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.