Materials World Modules

An Inquiry & Design-Based Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Program

Northwestern University meets with Taft High School in Los Angeles to Address Curriculum Reform (Nov. 2007)

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On November 19 and 20, 2007, Professor R.P.H. Chang and team members from Northwestern University's Materials World Modules (MWM) Program held a workshop for a group of fifteen administrators and high school teachers from Taft High School in Los Angeles, California. Teachers of various disciplines, including Science, Math, English, Physical Education, and Computer Science attended the workshop. Prof. Chang introduced the Materials World Modules Program and presented how LAUSD can use the modules as a springboard to create a new interdisciplinary curriculum based on science and technology concepts. MWM content developers Matthew Hsu and Sarah Dugan led participants through exploratory activities from two modules: Composites and Nanotechnology.

The goal of the workshop was to discuss ways to infuse MWM units into a Small Learning Community curriculum to promote student engagement, encourage team building, enhance communication skills, and show relevance.

After the first day of the workshop, Los Angeles teachers were eager to test a design project with their students and plan to host a school-wide contest in January 2008.

In establishing a revised curriculum using the MWM Program, Taft hopes to achieve three main goals: 1. improve reading, math, and science literacy, 2. stabilize student retention, and 3. promote career development.

As a result of the two-day meeting, Northwestern University and Taft High School have formed a partnership and will explore ways to begin restructuring the current curriculum. In the process, the school has also begun to procure funding for this initiative.

Special recognition and appreciation goes to science teacher Maggie Ku and Assistant Principal Dr. Ogo Johnson and her team for helping to organize and host the event.

This workshop follows an initial visit to L.A. in the spring of 2007, where various teachers from the LAUSD as well as administrators such as Dr. Shelley Weston participated in a similar workshop about curriculum reform.

Left to right: English teacher Kevin Harlow, PE teacher Chris Tahan, Computer Science Teacher Sue Brown, and English Teacher Carol Wise from Taft H.S.

Dr. Shelley Weston leads a brainstorming discussion on curriculum reform during the initial workshop in April 2007.

Prof. R.P.H. Chang listens to ideas from LAUSD participants at initial workshop in April 2007.

MWM-Taft High School Workshop Participants.

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