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Apollo 13

Our experience with Learning by Design™, an inquiry-based and design-based approach to middle-school science, has uncovered several problems teachers have introducing students to an inquiry approach. Teachers find it hard to help students learn content at the same time they are learning skills and processes required for inquiry and design. As well, many students need time to adapt to a classroom situation in which they must take initiative. In response to this need, we've created a "launcher unit" for our LBD™ classrooms called Apollo 13. Students watch a movie where they see scientists and engineers engaging in collaboration, communication, informed decision making, inquiry, and design, and then they engage in a series of short activities that focus on learning these complex skills. The activities provide an anchor for the rest of the year's activities in science class. While designed for LBD™, the approach may be appropriate for other inquiry approaches as well.

Learning by Design™ • Georgia Institute of Technology • 801 Atlantic • Atlanta, GA 30332-0280 • lbd@cc.gatech.edu