Event-Based Science

Table of Contents



Consulting Services

Staff Development


EBS Store

Teacher Gift Store

Ordering Modules
and Kits


Remote Sensing

Parent Letter

What is Event-Based Science?

Special Needs Students

Skeptic is Won Over

How Do Schools Use EBS

Event-Based Science meets National Science Education Standards!

EBS! Teaching Hints

Event-Based Science modules are motivating for students, but they are challenging for teachers. In the EBS classroom, the teacher must often play the role of coach or guide. Few among us have been trained to play such a role. We are also asked to promote equity in our classrooms. What exactly does that mean, and how does Event-Based Science fit in?

This page will be the site for ideas and strategies to help you become a better teacher of Event-Based Science. Expect the site to grow, and links to be added. If you have a problem or a solution to share, please send it to us at: webmaster@ebsinstitute.com

Recognizing Quality Science

How do you recognize an effective middle school science classroom when you see one? Whether or not you use Event-Based Science, there are effective things you can do now. See a comparison of what works and what doesn't. If you are using EBS and your principal is skeptical, print out this comparison and show it to your principal.

Below is our on-going attempt to identify problems and propose solutions.

Event-Based Science doesn't tell me what to do each day?

Although the Event-Based Science instructional model begins with a prescribed sequence--Hook, discussion, Task, readiness--it doesn't prescribe what to do after that. What should I do next?

That's up to you to decide. According to National Science Education Standards Teaching Standards, "Teachers of science ... select science content and adapt and design curricula to meet the interests, knowledge, understanding, abilities, and experiences of students."

The EBS module is a resource for you to use as you work to meet National Teaching Standards.

  • Familiarize yourself with everything in the Teacher's Guide and Student Edition.
  • Select the order in which you plan to conduct the science activities.
  • Allow plenty of time after each activity. Ample discussion is required if deep understanding is your goal.
  • Select appropriate discovery files and decide who will read each of them.
  • Select other resources that you will use (readings, demonstrations, labs, Websites).
  • Let student's questions guide your selection of what to do next.
  • Finally, when students have the knowledge and skills they need to accomplish the task, turn the work over to them. It's their job to apply what they have learned as they strive to accomplish the task.

Where do I find Information?

Event-Based Science requires teachers and students to gather information. Where do I start? How do I point students in the right direction?

Event-Based Science modules provide information in Discovery Files and In the News. These essays and newspaper articles represent the kinds of information that a teacher might collect and keep in a vertical file. But they are only examples! You should begin to establish such a file now. Add to it over time. Let your students add to it. Update it constantly. Remove old explanations when new ones appear. After all, that is the essence of science.

Brainstorming sessions should be used frequently. If your students are having problems knowing where to go for information, ask them to brainstorm. Together, they will probably come up with wonderful ideas.
Two for you to throw in, if your students miss them, are the yellow pages directory, and an "800" number directory.

Have a discussion about finding information immediately after the the HOOK, or after the task is presented. The hook often leaves unanswered questions and disagreement. Challenge your students to think of ways to find answers.

Grading and Assessment

Event-Based Science creates a grading challenge. Although scoring rubrics are included with all activities. How should a teacher actually assign report-card grades?

One of the grading problems is the lack of rubrics for the tasks. We do not have rubrics for any of our tasks because teachers who use EBS modules prefer to develop rubrics with their students. (In the early development of EBS we tried prescribed rubrics for our tasks, but abandoned them in favor of the home-grown variety.)

Begin to design your home-grown rubrics as you are about to turn your students loose to work on the task. Review the task's requirements and ask your students to tell you what would be the difference between meeting the goals laid out in the task and not meeting those goals. A four-point scale (3,2,1,0) is easy to develop. Three points goes to the best work as defined by you and your students. One point is for minimal acceptable work, and two points is somewhere in between. Zero points means that a student doesn't even try.

To assign individual grades, be sure to have a different rubric for each role.

More suggestions will be added, but for now, you might wish to read an article about a unique way to average student grades. Success for All: The Median is the Key, by Russell G. Wright

Posing Questions

If you envisioned images of children actively posing questions, seeking answers to questions that they care about, demonstrating a strong interest in outcomes, and discussing their theories and ideas with others, you've shared in a glimpse of what makes educators so excited about the possibilities of inquiry-based learning. At its best, inquiry-based learning makes excellent educational sense.

Event-Based Science requires teachers and students to pose better questions.


Event-Based Science promotes equity in a number of ways. What help does it provide and how can I take advantage of the help the Event-Based Science modules and instructional model provide?

The Event-Based Science Web site is currently adding support for students with special needs.

Our Special Needs Page page provides general adaptation guidelines as well as links to worksheets and other support.

Sequencing of Event-Based Science Modules

Event-Based Science modules have no prescribed sequence. However, when you first introduce your students to Event-Based Science they will need more structure and support. Activities will also take longer that predicted.
How do I provide that structure?
What kind of support are you talking about?

Event-Based Science modules have science activities that are inquiry focused. They are more than hands-on, they ask students to think! This is frightening to some students. If you have never given your students an activity that poses a problem then challenges them to design an experiment to solve it, they may flounder at first. Although some floundering is to be expected. Too much floundering will require your intervention. That intervention may be in the form of helping the class to design an experiment. A brainstorming session with the whole class, may result in a number of different experimental designs.
If you choose to provide this kind of help, make sure that your students know your purpose. You may be helping this time, but next time you will expect them to design their own experiment. Help them focus on the kinds of questions you are asking, and the kinds of thought processes you are leading them through.

Other answers will be added.

Inquiry Labs

Event-Based Science requires students to conduct "inquiry" laboratory activities. What does that mean? How are they different? Why is it important to do these activities with little guidance? Why is the discussion after the activity the most important part of the activity?

Inquiry-based instruction involves students in the active search for answers to questions. It has them designing their own experiments and reporting their findings in the ways they choose. Teaching Science through Inquiry, by: David L. Haury, provides a more thorough discussion of the topic than you probably want.

Other ideas will be added.


Event-Based Science is a constructivist model. What does that mean? What are its assumptions? How is a constructivist classroom different?
A foundational premise of constructivism is that "children actively construct their knowledge. Rather than simply absorbing ideas spoken at them by teachers, or somehow internalizing them through endless, repeated rote practice, constructivism posits that children actually invent their ideas. They assimilate new information to simple, preexisting notions, and modify their understanding in light of new data. In the process, their ideas gain in complexity and power, and with appropriate support children develop critical insight into how they think and what they know about the world as their understanding increases in depth and detail. Constructivism emphasizes the careful study of the processes by which children create and develop their ideas. Its educational applications lie in creating curricula that match (but also challenge) children's understanding, fostering further growth and development of the mind." Erik F. Strommen, Children's Television Workshop and Bruce Lincoln, Bank Street College of Education
You can find the full text of this and other helpful
essays on constructivism and education by following this link to the site of the Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation.

Other ideas will be added.

For links to Event-Based Science books and pages, return to the EBS home page:

Event-Based Science Home Page

1997-2014 Event-Based Science Project

EBS Institute Tutoring

This page was first posted on February 6, 1997, at the suggestion of Myrna Justus and Pat Hagan.