Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center
Outreach & Education
Health Science Educational Resources
IMPACTT emphasizes process over content. The processes that
are emphasized are finding answers through the scientific
process, library research, on the Internet and from other
people. IMPACTT lessons are selected or designed so that students
develop or refine invaluable skills while they are introduced
to content. Every effort is made to integrate the content
areas of science, english, social studies, technology, and
math in such a way that students understand the interconnectedness
of these discuplines and gain insight into the way the real
world works. For a deeper understanding about how these goals
are accomplished please click on the links below. MENU
The IMPACTT philosophy can be summarized by six phrases:
process oriented, student oriented,
mastery, integration, application,
and science. Curious what that means and
how it all fits together? Then read on.
IMPACTT emphasizes process over content. Although content
is certainly addressed and state and national standards are
met, it is not done at the expense of providing the students
with skills that will help them for the rest of their life.
Students aren't going to remember the distance between the
sun and the earth 5 years from now (or even a day after they
"learned it"), and why should they? But they do need to know
how to find an answer and effectively communicate that answer.
|Finding an answer can be as simple as knowing
how to efficiently search the Internet or the library. Or, it
can be as involved as conducting a survey or scientific experiment.
Communicating that answer requires excellent writing, presentation,
and speaking skills. The IMPACTT philosophy encourages taking
the time required to help students achieve these skills instead
of quickly moving on to the next topic to make sure "everything
gets covered" during the school year.
|IMPACTT lessons are selected or designed so that
students develop or refine invaluable skills while they are
introduced to content. The content changes throughout the year,
but the students repeat many of the same processes over and
over again until that skill is mastered. MENU
The IMPACTT teaching approach is student oriented. Each student
is viewed as an individual with different skills, backgrounds,
and needs. The curriculum and program are designed to address
individual student needs in three different ways. First, by
having in-depth projects, students are typically at different
stages of the project. Thus, some students are working well
without help, while others need more attention. Having longer,
more involved projects distributes the "student need load"
and allows the teacher to work closely with individuals or
small groups of students. Second, a variety of lessons and
teaching methods are used. A combination of inquiry, cooperative
learning, experiential learning, and individual work honors
multiple learning styles. Third, when implemented as a full
academy, IMPACTT students remain together all day. This allows
teachers to work with the students for multiple periods on
an as needed basis. For example, if the students are struggling
with the math in one of the projects, the math teacher can
stay and work with them until understanding is achieved.
Students attain mastery level work in two ways. First, students
are graded on the four point scale below.
|Work that does not meet the mastery
level can be revisited by the student until mastery (A or B
grade work) occurs. Students that choose not to redo or make
up work will eventually receive an F. A certain amount of class
time is given to the students to allow them to redo incomplete
work (I). This is critical because students rely on the teacher
to explicitly show them what is expected of them. For example,
many students have poor writing skills. Their writing will likely
not improve unless a teacher sits down with them and helps them
rewrite their document. Another example where students often
require guidance is interpreting data. Students typically overstate
their conclusions from their data. Once a student has been shown
how to improve his or her work, and given some time to redo
it in class, students are eventually expected to redo "incompletes"
on his or her own time (during lunch or after school if they
would like assistance). The second way students attain mastery
through IMPACTT is described the Process Oriented
section of this page. MENU
Educational circles debate about how to define true subject
integration versus teaching multiple subjects through parallel
thematic units. If integration is defined in its strictest
sense it means that all of the academic subjects are implemented
concurrently through the exact same lesson or project and
the boundaries between academic "classes" get blurred. If
defined in this way, IMPACTT does achieve "true integration"
much of the time. This is accomplished through completely
integrated lessons, Major Projects, and the academy structure
where students remain together in IMPACTT throughout the school
day. IMPACTT also diverges from the strict integration definition
by implementing multiple subjects through parallel thematic
units. Sometimes this is a result of the design of a lesson
needed to give the students skills or information necessary
to complete their Major Project or to meet a State Standard.
Whether "true" integration or thematic structures are used,
both approaches demonstrate to students how subjects relate
and connect to each other. This adds a layer of meaning for
the students and partially addresses a question often asked
by students, "why do I need to know this?" The other important
piece to addressing that question is allowing the students
use their newly learned skills and knowledge in a real-world
scenario. Although this is not always possible, integration
is an excellent tool to accomplish real-world application.
IMPACTT tries to provide as many real-world applications
as time, budgets, resources, and imaginations allow. Real-world
application is primarily accomplished through the Major Projects,
although it is also achieved through complementary field trips
and connections with people working in a particular field.
Some examples of Major Projects that have real-world application
include the "Teen Tobacco & Health Conference," the "Real-time
Air Quality Exercise," and the "Cancer Video Documentary."
IMPACTT is a fully integrated program that emphasizes science,
math, and technology through the context of traditional academic
subjects and broad umbrella themes. IMPACTT strives to break
the compartmentalized, often sterile and uninteresting paradigm
of "worksheet-based, fill-in-the-blank" science teaching.
IMPACTT is a fully integrated program that promotes the vigorous
development of critical thinking and science literacy.
|Even though IMPACTT is primarily a science, math
and technology program, it provides students with information,
coursework and skills that will be invaluable in their future
pursuits, be it college or direct employment. It can not be
overstated that a scientifically informed, critically thinking
population is also a literate population. Students completing
the IMPACTT program will be able to interpret statistical information
(like that conveyed to them through the media), and evaluate
its merit and application. The students will be able to ask
critical and informed questions, and retrieve information before
they take action, whether it be a simple task such as planting
a shrub or a complex international diplomatic encounter.
Stefani Hines, Director: 520-626-3692
Marti Lindsey, Asst. Specialist: 520-626-7659
Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center
University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Room 244
PO Box 210207, Tucson, AZ, USA 85721-0207