While Science, Technology, and Engineering programming has always been an important part of the KIPP Chicago experience, our efforts in fostering a love of inquiry and scientific thinking have grown over the last 3 years. Perhaps the biggest shift has been the adoption and implementation of the Amplify Science curriculum. At the core of Amplify Science is a focus on evidence-based, inquiry-focused thinking that brings Next Generation Science Standards to K-8 students. Amplify’s pedagogy invites students to explore phenomena with the purpose of solving authentic problems.
The Amplify approach is also complementary to math and ELA instruction. Every unit includes multiple texts, close reading and argumentative and explanatory writing assignments. Simulation and modeling augment critical problem solving skills developed in mathematics classes.
Besides detailed lesson plans, the Amplify platform includes embedded formative assessments, hands-on activities, digital simulations, and a variety of effective teacher supports. It is cutting edge, using a phenomena-based approach coupled with computational simulations and digital modeling, that helps students develop skepticism and critical thinking necessary to tackle the challenges our society faces.
Our initial utilization of Amplify in grades 5 through 8 over the last few years have yielded strong results. Last year, KIPP Chicago was the highest performing region in the KIPP network on grades 6-8 Amplify tests! And KIPP Chicago has two teachers recognized as master science teachers by the KIPP Foundation: Monika Patel (KIPP Academy Chicago) and Julie Brunner (KIPP One Academy). This school year we have expanded the Amplify Science curriculum to all grades, as we know the path to rigorous thinking starts with a strong foundation.