The IQWST experience: Using coherence as a design principle for a middle school science curriculum

Yael Shwartz, Ayelet Weizman, David Fortus, Joe Krajcik, Brian Reiser

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Coherent curricula are needed to help students develop deep understanding of important ideas in science. Too often students experience curriculum that is piecemeal and lacks coordination and consistency across time, topics, and disciplines. Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST) is a middle school science curriculum project that attempts to address these problems. IQWST units are built on 5 key aspects of coherence: (1) learning goal coherence; (2) intraunit coherence between content learning goals, scientific practices, and curricular activities; (3) interunit coherence supporting multidisciplinary connections and dependencies; (4) coherence between professional development and curriculum materials to support classroom enactment; and (5) coherence between science literacy expectations and general literacy skills. Dealing with these aspects of coherence involves trade-offs and challenges. This article illustrates some of the challenges related to the first 3 aspects of coherence and the way we have chosen to deal with them. Preliminary results regarding the effectiveness of IQWST's approach to these challenges are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-219
Number of pages21
JournalElementary School Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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