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Benchmark Lessons

Why is it important to include a benchmark lesson in your curriculum planning? 

Benchmark lessons are teacher-directed activities which demonstrate concepts, principles, or skills that students should understand to succeed in a project.  As a critical component of project-based science, benchmark lessons help students learn difficult concepts.  Benchmark lessons can be used to teach the scientific method, laboratory techniques such as safety, and inquiry abilities.  Teachers can also utilize benchmark lessons to model thinking when they demonstrate to students how to ask yourself questions, reflect aloud, decide how to compare data, and wonder what might be done differently. 


In the attached benchmark lesson, students learn how to use the scientific method when conducting an experiment.  Students will first be introduced to the multiple parts of the scientific method in a lecture.  They will then be asked to plan and complete an experiment using the scientific method.  The scientific method is an important but difficult concept for students to understand.  It has multiple steps and complex vocabulary which may make it hard for students to initially understand.  The scientific method is important because it illustrates the logical steps to completing an experiment. Also, the scientific method is universally accepted in the science community as a way to publish findings.           

Benchmark Lesson Example

Ms. Gemma FitzPatrick
Marquette University class of '08
Elementary Education and Psychology Undergraduate