I was surprised [during the summer visit] with the speed with which my students increased their proficiency with the tools we are using -- especially Python programming! My students acted very independently and hardly ever needed me to suggest something for them to do next; many times they were already anticipating the next tasks and trying to figure out how to do it!
Many science teachers begin the year with a discussion of the “scientific method.” Our group modeled just that … Starting with a problem, researching background papers, submitting a research proposal, analyzing authentic data, and drawing conclusions models the scientific process in real life.
Science is hard! ;-) Also, it is worth the work!