IQWST: Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology

Joseph Krajcik
IQWST, as the “next generation” of middle school curricula, was designed to enable teachers with diverse knowledge and experiences to teach science effectively to students with a variety of backgrounds and strengths. IQWST materials align with national standards, are rooted in principles of project-based scientific inquiry, focus on science’s “big ideas,” and employ research-based practices to promote students’ science content and science literacy learning. This coordinated sixth- to eighth-grade curriculum sequences one unit each year in physics, earth science, biology, and chemistry instruction in a manner that builds upon students’ prior knowledge and everyday experiences to build deep understanding of core science ideas from unit to unit both within and across the middle school years. Students learn complex scientific ideas by engaging in practices that include working with models, constructing scientific explanations, engaging in argumentation and debate, analyzing data gathered either from students’ own investigations or represented in complex datasets, and presenting ideas to peers. The interdisciplinary team of science teachers, scientists, literacy experts, curriculum designers, and university researchers works collaboratively with teachers to ensure that the materials provide appropriate and sufficient support for teachers and their students in urban, suburban, and rural school contexts.