"We have extraordinary results," Schneider says. "We have been able to show through very rigorous methodology that students are engaged and enjoying what they're doing in science and wanting to study different ideas. We've also been able to increase interest of young people in pursuing science careers. We're turning science education on its head."
The research results have been vetted and published in conference papers and in the new book, "Learning Science."
What they found is that students scored better on tests and reported higher interest in science than those taught with traditional learning materials. There also is strong evidence the curricula and teaching approach significantly impacts student science learning in a positive manner.
"They're doing the work of what a scientist does," says Krajcik. "They're also showing themselves that 'Hey, I can do this,' which is a powerful component that promotes confidence and learning."
And, the students like it much better.
"A lot of us are more hands-on learners," says Deja Thomas, senior at East English Village Preparatory Academy in Detroit. "It's hard for many of us to interpret something that we're just reading out of a book. So, instead of reading it, we're actually visualizing the phenomena and testing it in our classrooms."
Students also benefit from collaborating with each other.