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A Leader's Guide to Science Curriculum Topic Study

Use this powerful professional development approach to improve teacher understanding of K–12 science teaching and learning!

This leader's guide shows how to facilitate Curriculum Topic Study (CTS), a National Science Foundation–funded process, to help science teachers improve their practice by linking standards and research to core content, curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Keyed to the book Science Curriculum Topic Study, this resource provides everything needed to facilitate CTS, including:

  • A solid foundation in the CTS framework
  • Designs for workshops, professional learning communities, and individual coaching
  • Facilitation, group processing, and materials management strategies
  • A CD-ROM with handouts, PowerPoint slides, and templates

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12, Elementary, Secondary
  • ISBN: 9781412978170
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2009
  • Page Count: 320
  • Publication date: January 15, 2009

Price: $52.95

Price: $52.95
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"Engaging science teachers at all levels with important ideas relating to both the content and how they can help students learn the content is critical to promoting effective instruction. This leaders' guide will help us use CTS even more effectively ourselves, and help us prepare new cadres of professional development providers who will engage current and future teachers with state and national resources to improve science instruction and student learning."
—George Nelson, Former Director, Project 2061, AAAS
Director, Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education, Western Washington University

"Knowing all the science standards and the science educational research about learning science for each of those standards is challenging for anyone. This book illustrates effective professional development models for using Curriculum Topic Study with science teachers and is a must-have, particularly if you're a professional developer in science education."
—Francis Eberle, Executive Director
National Science Teachers Association

Use this powerful professional development approach to improve teacher understanding of K–12 science teaching and learning!

The Curriculum Topic Study (CTS) process, funded by the National Science Foundation, helps teachers improve their practice by linking standards and research to content, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Keyed to the core book Science Curriculum Topic Study, this resource helps science professional development leaders and teacher educators understand the CTS approach and how to design, lead, and apply CTS in a variety of settings that support teachers as learners. The authors provide everything needed to facilitate the CTS process, including:

  • A solid foundation in the CTS framework
  • Multiple designs for half-day and full-day workshops, professional learning communities, and one-on-one instructional coaching
  • Facilitation, group processing, and materials management strategies
  • A CD-ROM with handouts, PowerPoint slides, and templates

By bringing CTS into schools and other professional development settings, science leaders can enhance their teachers' knowledge of content, improve teaching practices, and have a positive impact on student learning!

Key features

  • Provides a solid foundation for professional developers in the history, purposes, and "anatomy" of curriculum topic study (CTS)
  • Section II presents workshop designs on learning to use curriculum topic study featuring agendas, tips, and handouts
  • Section III includes designs for using CTS within various teacher-learning strategies such as CTS study groups and mentoring
  • Includes designs for embedding CTS in other professional development strategies, e.g., planning action research
  • Companion CD-ROM includes numerous handouts, PowerPoint slides, and templates keyed to each section of the book




Susan Mundry photo

Susan Mundry

Susan Mundry is currently deputy director of Learning Innovations at WestEd and the associate director of WestEd’s Mathematics, Science, and Technology Program. She directs several national or regional projects focused on improving educational practice and oversees the research and evaluation projects of Learning Innovations. She is codirector of a research study examining the distribution of highly qualified teachers in New York and Maine for the Northeast & Islands Regional Education Laboratory and is the project codirector for the evaluation of the Intel Mathematics Initiative, a professional development program for elementary and middle grades teachers aimed at increasing student outcomes in mathematics. She is also a Principal Investigator for two National Science Foundation projects that are developing products to promote the use of research-based practice in science and mathematics. Since 2000, Mundry has codirected the National Academy for Science and Mathematics Education Leadership, which provides educational leaders with training and technical assistance on professional development design, leading educational change, group facilitation, data analysis and use, and general educational leadership, as well as access to research-based information to improve teaching and learning. Building on this work, she provides technical assistance to several large urban schools districts engaged in enhancing leadership and improving math and science programs.

As a senior research associate for the National Institute for Science Education (1997-2000), Mundry conducted research on attributes of effective professional development. She served on the national evaluation team for the study of the Eisenhower Professional Development program led by the American Institutes for Research, where she worked on the development of national survey instruments and the protocols for case studies. From 1982 to 1997, Mundry served in many roles from staff developer to associate director at The NETWORK, Inc., a research and development organization focused on organizational change and dissemination of promising education practice. There, she managed the work of the National Center for Improving Science Education and the Center for Effective Communication, provided technical assistance to schools on issues of equity and desegregation, oversaw national dissemination programs, and co-developed the “Change Game,” (Making Change for School Improvement) a simulation game that enhances leaders’ ability to lead change efforts in schools and districts.

Mundry has written several books, chapters, and articles based on her work. She is coauthor of the best selling book, Designing Effective Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics (2nd edition), as well as Leading Every Day: 125 Actions for Effective Leadership, which was named a National Staff Development Council Book of the Year in 2003. Her latest book is The Data Coach’s Guide to Improving Learning for All Students (2008).

Page D. Keeley photo

Page D. Keeley

Page is a prolific author of over twenty national best-selling and award-winning books, including twelve books in the Uncovering Student Ideas in Science series, four books in the first edition Curriculum Topic Study series, and four books in the Science and Mathematics Formative Assessment- Practical Strategies for Linking Assessment, Instruction, and Learning series. Several of her books have received prestigious awards in educational publishing. She has authored numerous journal articles and contributed to several book chapters. She is a frequent invited speaker at regional, national, and international conferences on the topic of formative assessment in science, understanding students’ (and teachers’) thinking, and teaching for conceptual understanding.

Prior to leaving the classroom to work at the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance in 1996, Page taught middle and high school science for 15 years. At that time she was an active teacher leader at the state and national level, serving two terms as President of the Maine Science Teachers Association and NSTA District II Director 1995-1998 and NSTA Executive Board member (prior to the Board and Council restructuring in 1997). She received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching in 1992 and the Milken National Distinguished Educator Award in 1993.

Since leaving the classroom in 1996, her work in leadership and professional development has been nationally recognized. In 2008 she was elected the 63rd President of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the world's largest organization of K-12, university, and informal science educators. In 2009 she received the National Staff Development Council’s (now Learning Forward) . In 2013 she received the Outstanding Leadership in Science Education award from the National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA) and in 2018, The Distinguished Service to Science Education Award from NSTA. She has served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Maine, was a Cohort 1 Fellow in the National Academy for Science and Mathematics Education Leadership, was a science literacy leader for the AAAS/Project 2061 Professional Development Program, and served on several national advisory boards. She has a strong interest in global science education and has led science/STEM education delegations to South Africa (2009), China (2010), India (2012), Cuba (2014), Iceland (2017), Panama (2018), and Costa Rica (2019).

Prior to entering the teaching profession, Page was a research assistant for immunogeneticist, Dr. Leonard Shultz, at the Jackson Laboratory of Mammalian Genetics in Bar Harbor, Maine. She received her B.S. in Life Sciences/pre-veterinary studies from the University of New Hampshire and her Masters degree in Science Education from the University of Maine. In her spare time she enjoys travel, reading, photography, fiber art, and dabbles in modernist cooking and culinary art. A Maine resident for almost 40 years, Page and her husband currently reside in Fort Myers, FL and Wickford, RI. Page can be contacted at pagekeeley@gmail.com or through her web site at www.uncoveringstudentideas.org

Carolyn Landel photo

Carolyn Landel

Carolyn Landel received her doctoral degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Chicago and pursued postdoctoral studies at University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. While maintaining an active research program, Landel brought together her strong scientific training and her commitment to education by supporting state and national science education reform efforts. In 2002, Landel joined the Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education program at Western Washington University (WWU), home to the state’s largest teacher preparation program. Here, she serves as project director of a National Science Foundation–funded Mathematics and Science Partnership that unites scientists from Western Washington University and four community colleges with 28 small and rural school districts to improve science education K-16. Landel directs the day-to-day work of all aspects of the project, including participation in science education research studies in collaboration with Westat, Horizon Research, the Education Development Center (EDC), and Georgia Tech University.

Landel was a fellow in the National Academy for Science and Mathematics Education Leadership and principal investigator of a state-funded initiative to develop and pilot a science education leadership program at WWU for K-12 teachers. This successful pilot was scaled initially through the NSF-funded Mathematics and Science Partnership program, and is currently being sustained through continued funding from the state department of education.

Landel led the early dissemination efforts of Curriculum Topic Study (CTS) in Washington State in both inservice and preservice contexts. Based on her experiences with CTS she joined a panel of national experts assembled to inform the development of print and Web-based publications to help teachers and professional developers utilize CTS to improve content-focused professional development and teacher practice.

Landel’s current collaborations include working with WestEd on the development of a simulation to help science education leaders understand the elements of effective professional development and how to design meaningful, content-rich experiences for science teachers. She is a lead consultant with the Education Development Center and Vulcan Production to produce an innovative print, Web, and video resource to help school-based leadership teams improve student achievement. She is also actively involved with Horizon Research and Project 2061 in the creation of instruments to assess teacher opportunities to learn and measure changes in teacher science content knowledge, teacher pedagogical content knowledge, classroom practice, as well as changes in student achievement.

Landel has authored numerous publications in scientific journals and, more recently, in the education literature. Her most recent publications can be found in NSTA press and Education Leadership. Her current research interests include understanding how partnerships between higher education scientists and teachers can improve teacher, faculty, and student learning and what attributes of professional development lead to improved science content and pedagogical content knowledge required of teachers to increase student learning.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



About the Authors

1. Introduction to A Leader's Guide

Advice for Using This Leader's Guide

Underlying Beliefs

The Need for a Common Professional Knowledge Base

CTS Makes the Knowledge Base Accessible

Building Professional Community

Observations and Voices From the Field

Professional Development Designs Are Enhanced Through CTS

CTS Use by Collaborative School Teams

CTS Use in Preservice Education

CTS Enhances Science Education Leadership

The Language of CTS

2. Introduction to Curriculum Topic Study for Leaders

What Is CTS?

What CTS Is Not

CTS and Science Literacy

Key Points About Standards and Research on Learning

Using CTS to Lead Professional Learning

CTS Resources and Tools

From Generic Tools to Content-Specific Tools

3. Considerations for Designing and Leading Curriculum Topic Study

CTS and the Principles of Effective Professional Development

CTS Learning Cycle

Facilitation Tips and Strategies

Acquiring and Managing Materials

Developing Norms for Collaborative Work

CTS Group Norms

Options for Organizing and Discussing Readings

CTS Recommended Reading and Summarizing Strategies

Reporting Out Strategies

Reflection on CTS

Summarizing Findings

Strategy for Addressing the Issue of Time and Difficulty

Next Steps

4. Tools, Resources, and Designs for Leading Introductory Sessions on Curriculum Topic Study

Make Your Own CTS Introductory Session

Essential Facilitator Preparation

Module A1: Introduction to CTS Using K-12 Snapshots, Facilitation Guide

Module A2: Introduction to CTS Resource Scenarios?Models, Facilitation Guide

Module A3: Full-Day Introduction to CTS Resource Scenarios and Snapshots, Facilitation Guide

Options for Introducing the CTS Resource Books

Developing Your Own Snapshots and Resource Scenarios

Next Steps After CTS Introductions

5. Leading Full Topic Studies

Introduction to Full Topic Studies

Module B1: "Experimental Design" Facilitation Guide

Module B2: "Evidence and Explanation" Facilitation Guide

Module B3: "Earth, Moon, and Sun System" Facilitation Guide

Module B4: "Conservation of Matter" Facilitation Guide

Module B5: "Atoms and Molecules" Facilitation Guide

Module B6: "Photosynthesis and Respiration" Facilitation Guide

Module B7: "Life Cycles (K-4)" Facilitation Guide

Additional Suggestions for Designing and Leading Full Topic Studies

Developing Your Own Half-Day Topic Study

Combining Topics

Cautions and Next Steps

6. Using CTS in a Content, Curricular, Instructional, or Assessment Context

Introduction to CTS Context Applications

CTS and Science Content Knowledge

CTS and Science Curriculum

CTS and Science Instructions

CTS and Science Assessment

Module: Developing CTS Assessment Probes

Performance Assessment Tasks

CTS Performance Assessment Task Design and Teacher Learning

A CTS Process for Developing Performance Tasks

CTS Performance Task Development Tools

Introducing the CTS Performance Assessment Task Application

Developing Their Own Performance Task

Other Examples of Context Applications of CTS

7. Embedding CTS Within Professional Development Strategies

Why Use CTS Within Other Professional Development Strategies?

CTS and Professional Learning Communities

CTS Professional Development Strategy Application 1: Study Groups

CTS Professional Development Strategy Application 2: Collaborative Inquiry Into Examining Student Thinking (CIEST)

CTS Professional Development Strategy Application 3: CTS Video Demonstration Lesson (VDL)

CTS Professional Development Strategy Application 4: CTS Integrated Lesson Study

CTS Professional Development Strategy Application 5: CTS Action Research

CTS Professional Development Strategy Application 6: CTS Seminars

CTS Professional Development Strategy Application 7: CTS Mentoring and Coaching

A Final Word





Price: $52.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.