In honor of their tenth anniversary, the SEPUP group in Japan invited us to visit and work with a group of their teachers and students. Barbara Nagle and Maia Willcox were delighted to travel across the Pacific and participate in the lively exchange of ideas organized by our colleagues in Japan. Barbara presented a talk to the teachers on SEPUP’s history, approach, and recent projects. Maia worked with the teachers using some of SEPUP’s new strategies, including the “walking debate,” in which participants move around the room based on their evidence-based position on an issue. The next day Maia taught a group of middle school students two activities from a SEPUP module while the teachers observed. At the end of the lesson Maia and the teachers helped the students participate in a walking debate. Several of the SEPUP Japan teachers demonstrated lessons with both students and teachers. The event concluded with a discussion of the value of and approaches to issue-oriented science in Japan and the United States.
At the closing ceremony, the SEPUP Japan teachers spoke about how SEPUP has helped them to become better teachers by increasing their understanding and use of hands-on, inquiry-based, issue-oriented science. We are grateful to our hosts in Japan for the exchange of ideas and strategies and the great science teaching we observed during our visit.
Arigato, SEPUP Japan!