The Interactive Learning and Design Lab, directed by Professor Sadhana Puntambekar, is a group of researchers, subject matter experts, software developers, and teachers, who collaborate to design innovative software and curricula to foster new ways for middle school students to learn and do science and engineering. The central premise of our work is to enable students to see the connections between science ideas, to learn the central ideas and networks of conceptual relationships, rather than a set of discrete facts. This premise is embodied in all of the tools that we design to foster science learning:
- an etextbook Sci-Viz, that shows visualizations of the connections among science ideas
- design challenges that address major themes, central principles and core ideas providing opportunities to understand the network of science concepts and principles
- a scientist’s journal, for recording predictions, hypotheses, and claims, recording data, providing justifications, and developing evidence-based explanations
Our materials have been used by over 10,000 students in middle schools in Wisconsin and Connecticut.