Pathfinder Science F.A.Q.
Where did Pathfinder Science come from?
Pathfinder Science is an open, international community made up of
researchers, teachers, citizens, and students interested in conducting
collaborative research. The research community building process began in October of 1997
supported by a U.S. Department of Education, Technology Innovation Challenge grant as the
Kansas Collaborative Research Network. This international collaboration began working
together to create an international research community that demonstrates that doing
science is a better way of learning science.
Pathfinder Science was "born" in August of 2002 at the end of the
grant funding cycle. The participating teachers have greatly extended the original
research concept. It now includes new research areas that involve Mathematics and the
Social Sciences. The addition of new projects in these discipline areas has greatly
extended the reach of the Pathfinder Science school-based science research model. The community
(February 2004) now involves teachers and students from 30 countries
and involves over 1200 registered classrooms. The community has many participants who have not
registered their classrooms to contribute data, but are using Pathfinder Science materials for
information, discussion and student research.
What is Pathfinder Science?
Pathfinder Science cultivates and celebrates the intellectual, imaginative and
humanitarian promise of every learner. Pathfinder Science is a virtual community
that practices mutual respect, embraces diversity, and inspires a passion for learning
about the material world through science. This Collaborative Research community grew
in an effort to fulfill the vision of national efforts to reform science and technology
education. Pathfinder Science is an internet-based community of researchers, teachers, and students
interested in conducting collaborative research. Pathfinder Science is committed to inquiry, as
basic to education and as a controlling principle in the organization and
selection of students' activities. Each research area is designed
to help students develop the ability to conduct research and develop a
deep understanding of scientific inquiry. Students at all grade
levels have the opportunity to ask questions, plan and conduct investigations,
use appropriate tools and techniques to gather data, think critically
about relationships between evidence and explanations, construct and analyze
alternative explanations, and communicate scientific
The Pathfinder community is working together to
create and implement a project that demonstrates, doing science is a
way of learning science. The results of ongoing investigations add
to our understanding of the natural world.
How can I participate in Pathfinder Science?
In order to
become an active member of the community, the first thing to do is visit
our web site. The Pathfinder Science Teacher's Lounge.
is a warm, supportive place for teachers
involved in the research projects. The buttons on the left of each page in the
Teacher's Area will take you to more general information, including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), registration for
your school, calendars, professional development opportunities,
and other useful information.
On the upper part of the Pathfinder web pages there is a black bar with several
links. These buttons will help you find your way around
the web site. To begin your schools participation in the projects,
you need to register your school. The registration is located in
the Teachers area. You will now have an online form that you can fill out. Record all
of the information requested in the boxes on the page. You can move
between the boxes by using the tab key, or by using the mouse and clicking
in the box. At the bottom of the form is a submit button. You will get back your information for one final check. If
the form is complete and correct, hit the submit button on the bottom of this page and
you will now be a member of the Pathfinder Science community.
You and your students can now participate
fully in any of the projects that are of interest to you. Each project
has several support features which should be of interest. Among
features are: downloadable data collected by schools, a description of
experimental protocols for each project, a threaded discussion forum for
each project, connections to mentors, and an area called ì
Researchî in which students may enter the text and graphics of their
research projects. We encourage all Pathfinder Science participants to upload
some research projects this year.
When you register for Pathfinder Science you automatically become a member of the list.
You will get a return message, by email, with additional information when you have joined the list.