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Abstract and Link to Report

The Gilbert Elementary Science Program: A Case Study of Developing an Inquiry-based Science Education Program


Becky Carroll, Katherine Ramage, Heather Mitchell, Gerald Accurso, and Dr. Mark St. John, Inverness Research Inc.


This is the story of a district in Gilbert, Arizona that developed a district-wide science program. The Gilbert Systemic Science Plan (GSSP) began in 1999 with a Local Systemic Change (LSC) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). During the past six years, the district has drawn on the LSC model, as well as knowledge accumulated from other districts doing similar work. The district has evolved from a few lead teachers piloting new hands-on science kits into a fully implemented district-wide science program for grades K-6.

This report discusses and illuminates how the district developed the capacity to offer this high-quality program. Eight key questions were central to the design and development process:

  • How did the district find, support, and further the leadership necessary to develop a strong program?
  • How did the district develop the capacity to provide materials to all its teachers?
  • How did the project leadership generate a shared vision among the teachers, administrators, and community of good science teaching?
  • How did the district support teachers through professional development in learning how to use the curriculum materials and understanding the key science concepts?
  • How did the project leadership position science education within the broader curricular priorities of the district?
  • How did the project leadership generate administrative support?
  • How did the district use outside resources to aide their effort?
  • How did the GSSP move from an externally funded project to a district-owned program?

See also the following reports on The Gilbert Elementary Science Program:

Funded by

NSF Grant Number ESI9819467

Intended Audience

Science Educators, Professional Developers for Science, School and District Administrators, Reform Leaders, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research Associates

Date published

November 2006

Distribution Policy

Inverness Research Inc. grants permission to print and distribute copies.

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The Gilbert Elementary Science Program: A Case Study of Developing an Inquiry-based Science Education Program (pp. 22)



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