Teacher Manual for ISP Tutor: FAQs
Q1. What is the ISP Tutor?
The ISP tutor is an interactive computer program that provides guidance to middle school students on the creation of experiment-based science projects.
The ISP Tutor includes support for students in a full range of inquiry activities, including: selecting research questions, developing hypotheses, conducting background research, designing controlled experiments for their research questions, and interpreting experimental results.
In the full inquiry pathway (see Q4), students will have completed all of the parts of a science fair poster, which they can print and put on a trifold to display.
Q2. Who is the ISP Tutor for?
The tutor is suitable for middle school students (Grades 6-8) of varying degrees of prior experience and knowledge. However, there are some activities appropriate for younger (elementary) and older (high school) students.
Q3. How is the ISP Tutor adaptive?
All lessons in the tutor are interactive, and provide students immediate feedback on their responses.
To further support a diverse range of students, the tutor has two "modes" of instruction:
A “Worked Example” mode for novice (younger students and/or students with less prior inquiry experience): Students see and interact with a virtual "high school" student of their choice (shown to the right) as they work through given lessons, explaining their actions throughout and asking students questions on important concepts. This mode includes voice-overs for reading support.
A “Guided Response” mode for intermediate-level students (older students and/or students with more prior inquiry experience): students engage in inquiry activities and receive feedback and support.
Q4. What assessments, lessons, and other activities are included in the ISP Tutor?
Below is a summary of the assessments, lessons, and instructional pathways given in the ISP Tutor. Some of these lessons are shown in the "Demos" page. Click on a link for more information:
Science Fair Poster Assessment: Assess students' prior knowledge of experiment-based science inquiry to determine which lessons to assign.
Prerequisite Science Lessons (recommended for all students): These lessons provide foundational information for all activities in the ISP Tutor.
Instructional Pathways on specific inquiry skills (e.g., selecting a good research question)
Full Inquiry Pathways: Students work through the full science inquiry cycle (beginning with selecting a research question)
Assess your Students' Initial Knowledge by assigning them to the Science Fair Poster Assessment activity.
Q5. How do I assign lessons to my students?
If you know what lessons to assign your students, you can register your class and assign your class to a specific lesson (or lessons). Or, you can assign individual students to different lessons (and modes of lessons). Click on "Register to Use Tutor" here or below.
If you need help deciding which lesson(s) to assign your students, you can assess their various inquiry knowledge by having students complete a Science Fair Poster Activity (link below). You will see their results and suggestions of lessons for students based on their performance on this activity.
You can find lessons/activities that address specific science standards here.