The teaching in a Newton room is built around the structure of the Newton modules; preparatory work – learning activities in the Newton room - supplementary work.
The preparatory work in school will give the pupils a first taste of what is going to happen in the Newton room - for example, it may work as an introduction to subject concepts or topics that the pupils will encounter later. The supplementary work will give pupils some repetition and / or widening of the subject area studied in the Newton room. It is important to pupil's learning outcomes that they perform both the preparatory and supplementary work at school.
Pupils often work in groups in the Newton room, which is prepared for pupils working together to solve practical tasks, - to build expertise together as a group. The group size may vary depending on tasks and equipment, but in many modules the students work in pairs or groups of three or four. Use of learning partners in the Newton room are based on sociocultural learning theory, suggesting that learning is enhanced by using the language for dialogue, reflection and discussion. In Newton rooms the pupils will be challenged to formulate hypothesis, ‘thinking’ about different ideas, and to collaborate. This is achieved both by dialogue in plenary and discussions in smaller groups.
During each learning activity in the Newton room, the Newton teacher helps the pupils to see the connection between the practical tasks and the theory. The teacher lead discussions and ask questions that pupils can reflect on. Through this, the teacher enables pupils to verbalize their conceptual understanding, or to demonstrate new skills. It is common for Newton teachers to draw clear academic conclusions based on assignments and learning goals. Newton activities should be student-active, whether the activity involves hands-on, exciting technological equipment, or adds to a shared reflection in plenary. Thus, in the concept, we want pupils to actively contribute in the Newton room, and the Newton teacher will act as a supervisor along the way. It’s in the interest of the Newton concept that pupil's thinking is made visible in all modules.
A Newton module should use a variety of teaching methods. During a day the pupils will experience diversity in organization, room facilities and ways of working. The 5 E’s instructional model is based on the constructivist approach to learning. It is one of the models that support Newton teachers in their planning, implementation and evaluation of inquiry-based science education.
In the course of Newton module teaching, there are opportunities for achieving in-depth learning. Pupils enjoy being engaged in same theme throughout the day, providing Newton teachers with a chance to establish connections between the main topic and other topics. Furthermore, Newton teachers can help pupils to see the connections between different subjects and subject areas, thus giving pupils a broader landscape of learning. Last but not least, we expect the Newton room to form an excellent arena for trying out new methods and modern didactic thinking.