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Virtual Courseware activities are innovative, experimental simulations that emphasize the inquiry process.
Students learn by doing: making observations, proposing hypotheses, designing experiments, collecting and analyzing data generated by the software, and synthesizing and communicating results through an online notebook and report.
Additionally, teachers have the option of modifying the grading rubric and guiding questions for the laboratory report, a feature that makes Virtual Courseware adaptable for different populations of learners.
Examples of Virtual Courseware appropriate for middle school science students include , for studying the principles of genetic inheritance; Natural Selection, for studying evolution; Relative Dating, for studying geological time; and Faults, for studying geological patterns. First, we wanted students to grasp how phenotype alone can be used to determine what traits are passed from parents to offspring.
By observing patterns of inheritance, recessiveness or dominance can be hypothesized.
Up to three traits may be selected for any single experiment.For many years, the web has provided teachers and students with a vast resource of factual information (some of it multimedia).More recently, websites have been developed where teachers can obtain effective inquiry-based tools for teaching science.The class account stores students’ notebooks, reports, and quizzes, which remain accessible for student review during subsequent sessions.The use of a class code also permits the teacher to view the notebook, grade and comment on the report, and analyze the quiz results.