At The Ellis School we believe that active learning helps girls to visualize, hypothesize, and improve their intuition about conceptual models of scientific phenomena in all areas of STEM. Furthermore, active learning deploys a collaborative, hands-on environment utilizing desktop experiments, online assignments, and educational technologies to engage students in constructing their own knowledge, rather than simply observing lectures.
The primary goal of The Active Classroom for Girls project is to establish a highly collaborative, hands-on, technology-rich, interactive learning environment for science and engineering courses. The project involves the development of re-envisioned curriculum, a remodeled classroom environment, and projects that support this type of learning. This includes the development, evaluation, and dissemination of new curricular materials in engineering design and physics. We believe this classroom space combined with active learning theory will increase conceptual understanding, improved attitudes, successful problem solving, and higher success rates, particularly for girls. We intend to study these hypotheses with researchers at The University of Pittsburgh and publish our findings to create professional development opportunities for other independent school educators.