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Claremont High School - Engaging All Freshmen in a 21st Century Laboratory Curriculum

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Engaging All Freshmen in a 21st Century Laboratory Curriculum


Vernier LabQuest


Five high school science teachers received training on Vernier digital data collection technology, Moodle, and Google Docs in order to create a common, sustainable and reproducible, technology-based laboratory curriculum.

Why did we need this grant?

  • Due to a lack of professional development, a large amount of Vernier digital data collection probes (that quantitatively measure carbon dioxide levels, hand grip strength, EKG, conductivity, heart rate, temperature, gas pressure, lung volume, titration, pH, and much more) were largely left unused and collecting dust.
  • Due to a lack of time and resources for teacher collaboration, articulation and curricular development, there were massive discrepancies in the quantity and quality of lab activities across biology courses, including common authentic lab assessments.
  • Students in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses came ill-prepared with poor lab design, data collection and processing skills.
  • A large proportion of freshman biology students were on the D/F list.
  • STAR CST End of Course Biology scores were static or declining in general freshman biology students.


Student Conducting Greenhouse Effect Lab Large

What were we trying to accomplish with this grant?

  • Increase lab consistency among freshman biology teachers
  • Engage students in technology-rich Vernier labs
  • Create and implement common lab assessments
  • Mentor and sustain the curriculum


Two Teachers Collaborate on Diffusion Lab

What did we do in this grant?

Year 1 was focused on gathering information to build a comprehensive laboratory curriculum. The team...

  • Participated in an on-site, hands-on training on digital data collection probes facilitated by Vernier Software and Technology.
  • Attended the California Science Teacher Association Conference in Pasadena in order to collect lesson and lab ideas.
  • Collaborated during four release days where teachers spent the day outside of the classroom to create a common Moodle course website, redesign the lab report writing process and format, develop the first few common lab activities, and evaluate the year-end progress, including curriculum development.
  • Shared team progress at the UCLA TIIP Annual Meeting.

Year 2 was focused on creating and piloting the new lab curriculum. The team...

  • Collaborated during monthly release days to review previous labs, analyze student work and revise the lab accordingly, identify the next unit of study, develop the next lab unit, create sustainable and functional lab kits, coordinate check-out procedures and schedules, and establish next steps.
  • Shared team progress at the UCLA TIIP Annual Meeting.
  • Facilitated a release day where the entire Claremont High School science department learned about the grant, examined the new lab report graphic organizer, rotated through four hands-on lab stations lead by TIIP team members, and explored the Claremont Biology website housing all the labs and resources developed and curated by the team.


Mentoring teachers

What were our end products at the end of the grant?

  • Claremont Biology website to share the labs and materials we created with other science teachers in and beyond Claremont High School
  • Lab Report Graphic Organizer, a new way for students to examine experimental design, record data, create graphs, and outline conclusions
  • 6 Vernier lab kits containing teacher preparation materials and instructions and ready-to-go lab kits for each student group (scientific method, enzyme catalysis, diffusion of alcohols, cellular respiration with "bag breath," greenhouse effect, and nervous system reflexes


Claremont High School Sign

Claremont High School (CHS) is located in Southern California about thirty miles east of Los Angeles. Nestled in the San Gabriel Valley and the City of Claremont, Claremont High School is within walking distance of the consortium of seven Claremont Colleges. There is a community and school culture of strong achievement by all students and an expectation of respect for each other. Staff and students work hard to build this culture of respect and pride. 

Claremont High School is the only public four-year comprehensive high school in the Claremont Unified School District (CUSD) and serves approximately 2,400 students. Claremont High School is a diverse student community; the student population is 33.7% free/reduced lunch, 10.5% Special Education, 5.5% English Learners, 42.5% White, 32.2% Hispanic, 10.8% Asian. 58.4% of seniors complete University of California admission requirements, over 94% of seniors have passed both CAHSEE sections, but the school API is consistently near 800.


Claremont High Team Picture 2

Who worked on this grant?

The team was comprised of five members of the Claremont High School science department. Shown left to right: Marizka Rivette, Cheryl Fiello, Linda Moule (Year 1 only), Sarah Tonks and Eric Tucker (Not pictured: Carly McKean (Year 2 only)).

Team Contact Information:

Cheryl Fiello (Team Leader)
Claremont High School
1601 N. Indian Hill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 398-0609 x30856

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