IQWST, which transforms adolescents into scientists, 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. Students investigate questions relevant to their lives by conducting investigations; collecting and analyzing data; developing and using models to explain phenomena, and engaging in argument from evidence, all in a literacy and discourse-rich environment.

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 understanding of core ideas in science as well as understanding and use of scientific practices.  Students also pursue their own original questions in units that  integrate the fundamentals of Physical Sciences, Life Science, and Earth & Space Science.

As research indicates, and the Framework for K-12 Science Education and NGSS describe, students learn best when they use coherent materials that support them in building understanding over time.

Examples include:

  • Sixth-graders learn about species interactions in ecosystems by investigating data from real-world examples of invasive species.

  • Seventh-graders explore properties, chemical reactions, and the conservation of mass by making their own soap materials they have investigated across multiple lessons.

  • Eighth-graders race, jump, and crawl in the classroom to measure properties of motion and create graphs based on physics equations.

  • Eighth-graders use a computer program to investigate a drop in the Galapagos Islands’ finch population.

By referencing real-world science with which students are familiar or have personal experience, science learning has value to diverse students who can apply what they are learning to their everyday lives. Our learning-by-doing pedagogical approach — paired with the expertise of our Chief Learning Officer Dr. LeeAnn Sutherland, Michigan State Professor Joe Krajcik, Northwestern University Professor Brian Reiser, and Weizmann Institute Senior Scientist David Fortus — 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.