Weizmann Institute of Science

Partner 4 [WEIZMANN]

The Weizmann Institute of Science (http://www.weizmann.ac.il) in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world’s top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. Noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences, the Institute is home to 2,500 scientists, students, technicians and supporting staff. Institute research efforts include the search for new ways of fighting disease and hunger, examining leading questions in mathematics and computer science, probing the physics of matter and the universe, creating novel materials and developing new strategies for protecting the environment.

The Department of Science Teaching, at the Weizmann Institute of Science, is composed of groups working in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, earth and environmental sciences, life sciences, and science and technology for junior-high school. In all these areas there are extensive research and development projects, aimed at (1) studying science and mathematics learning and teaching and their development, (2) producing and implementing improved and up-to-date learning and teaching materials that integrate the use of modern technologies, and (3) providing professional development for teachers. Work is based on an underlying philosophy that considers curriculum development and implementation, teacher professional development, research and evaluation as interrelated and continuous long-term activities. Research studies focus on cognitive, socio-cultural and affective aspects of learning, teaching and learning to teach science and mathematics, using various research methodologies: quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods. The department is specializing in the development of leadership among science teachers and in continuous professional development for in-service science teachers using research-based models. The department also specializes in pre-service science teachers training of graduate students (M.Sc. and Ph.D.) as well as postdoctoral fellows, of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

WP Involvement

Teacher Professional Development -Upper Secondary Education (WP4, leader)

WEIZMANN local webpage [he]

WEIZMANN PARRISE brochure [he]

Team Profile

Professor Anat Yarden is the Head of the Department and Head of the Biology Group at the Department of Science Teaching. Prof. Yarden holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology (Weizmann Institute of Science), and postdoctoral training in Genetics (Stanford University). The primary theme in all of Prof. Yarden’s activities has been the attempt to adapt techniques employed by scientists, to the processes by which students and teachers accumulate and advance their knowledge within the discipline of biology. 

Dr. Rachel Cohen holds a Ph.D. in Science Education (Weizmann Institute of Science). Dr. Cohen works extensively with pre-service as well as in-service junior high schools science teachers and with senior high school biology teachers on implementing inquiry into their teaching.  Her research focused on expression of the assimilation of a change in teaching the living cell as a “longitudinal axis” (macro-micro) in junior high school and the various aspects of its curriculum implementation. In light of her research findings, an intervention program (in-service training course) was developed and conducted, dealing with teachers’ pedagogical-content knowledge (PCK), to improve the expression of the new approach.

Eran Zafrani, A M.Sc. student at the Department of Science Teaching. Eran is currently researching the impact of an inquiry based learning unit dealing with a socio-scientific issue on upper-secondary students’ learning process and outcomes. As a context for this study, which is carried out in the framework of the PARRISE project, an existing socially oriented project in the Gymnasia Herzliya High School in Tel Aviv is examined.

Former PARRISE associates

Dr. Yossy Machluf is a Senior Intern fellow at the Department of Science Teaching who holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Biology (Weizmann Institute of Science) and a postdoctoral training in biology education (Weizmann Institute of Science). Dr. Machluf developed, together with other members of the biology group, a computerized learning environment in Bioinformatics for 12thgrade biotechnology majors based on a problem-solving approach (http://stwww.weizmann.ac.il/g-bio/bioinfo/index.html). Dr. Machluf works extensively with in-service teachers in implementing the learning environments.

European Commission

PARRISE (grant agreement 612438) is a four year programme (2014-2017) funded by the European Commission.

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