Warning: Your browser is not fully supported. We strongly recommend using Chrome or Firefox.

Insert Hyperlink


Course Image

Enter Course Name Here

This online workshop: That's so Meta(cognitive)! is based on ideas presented in Good Thinking!, an original animated series developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) and FableVision Studios as a professional development resource for K-12 science educators.

About This Course

Research over the past 30 years has documented what teachers have known from experience that students do not come to class as “blank slates”, but most often with a diverse set of ideas, concepts, and mental models that they have already developed from their life experiences. These ideas are called preconceptions, which are student ideas constructed before having formal instruction. Students use their own rules and mental models to make sense of their observations, and to explain phenomena that they encounter every day. One of the critical and ongoing challenges for educators across all grades is to discover students’ understandings and their mental models about phenomena, and when these models are based on misconceptions to provide opportunities for students to develop new understanding based on scientifically accepted concept

In this, workshop we look at what metacognition is, and how one teacher is helping students reflect on what they know and don’t know, and then on what questions to ask, and how to answer them.

The format and organization of the workshop are designed to allow individuals to successfully complete the online learning activities independently as a self-paced class, without the need for outside input or feedback. At the same time, this format was designed to flexibly fit into PLC meetings, PD workshops, or any time that you and your colleagues can meet to absorb some new ideas and discuss your experiences as educators. While the students in the Good Thinking! classroom are identified as being in the 5th grade, the pedagogical strategies are relevant to all levels of instruction.

*In order to apply for a CEU or a PD Unit, teachers have to complete all 4 courses in this series: SCIS401, SCIS402, SCIS403, SCIS404


 Download Detailed Course Outline


Simply Audit this Course

Can't commit to all of the lectures, assignments, and tests? Audit this course and have complete access to all of the course material, tests, people, portfolios, and the online discussion forum. You decide what and how much you want to do.

Try for a Certificate

Looking to test your mettle? Participate in all of the course's activities (we use the honor code around here) and if your work meets the 85% requirements, you'll receive a personalized certificate to showcase your achievement. You can also apply for course credit (if desired).

Course Staff

Jean Flanagan

Jean Flanagan is the Science Education Research Specialist at the Smithsonian Science Education Center. Jean has spent that past five years at SSEC focusing on translating research into practice through our products and services. As a project lead on the Good Thinking! video series, she worked with a small team to conceptualize the series, select topics, recruit subject matter experts, distill research, develop scripts, review visuals, incorporate feedback, and produce the series. Jean is also a lead developer on a new curriculum series aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards, Smithsonian Science for the Classroom. Prior to joining the SSEC Jean was a Research Associate at AAAS Project 2061, where she contributed to research on high-quality curriculum materials and assessments aligned to national standards. She also serves as a panelist on Achieve’s Peer Review Panel for Science.

Hyunju Lee

Hyunju Lee, Ed.D. is a program specialist in the Professional Services division of the SSEC. Before joining the group, Hyunju was a research fellow at Utah State University and at the University of South Florida. Hyunju participated in NSF-funded longitudinal PD projects that science and mathematics teachers learned to implement technology in science inquiry pedagogy. Hyunju received the NASA HST Education & Public Outreach grant, and a postdoctoral fellowship from the Science Education Center at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) of the Caltech. Hyunju’s research has focused on teacher learning of technology professional development, student learning of science, and astronomy education. Hyunju earned her doctoral degree in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. And, she received a MS in astronomy from Seoul National University, and a BS in physics with a science teaching certificate from Ewha Womans University in South Korea.

Amy D’Amico

Amy D’Amico, PhD, is the Division Director of Professional Services. In this role, she leads the amazing Professional Services staff in the development and implementation of professional development and leadership development initiatives at SSEC.

Prior to joining the SSEC, Amy has 20 years of experience as an educator that began by teaching middle school for the Cambridge Public Schools in Massachusetts. During her tenure there, Amy became a Middle Grade Science Teacher Leader and worked to develop professional development for teachers district-wide. She also mentored a cohort of teachers to support inquiry-based teaching in their classrooms. In her spare time Amy also worked on various educational consulting projects focused on the development of curriculum and professional development in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the American Museum of Natural History. 

Amy also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Biology Department of Georgetown University. Amy earned her BA in Biology with a minor in Education for Certification from New York University and received a MS and a PhD in Biology from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Brian Mandell

Brian Mandell, PhD, is the Division Director of Curriculum and Communications for the SSEC. In this role, he provides support and direction for the talented Curriculum and Communication staff in the development of world-class print and digital curricular resources.

Brian’s research interests include self-regulated learning (SRL), conceptual changes in science, hypermedia learning environments (HLEs), the transformative potential of the Next Generation Science Standards, microanalysis, and adolescent calibration tendencies between perceived self-efficacy and task outcomes. He has presented original research at both APA and NSTA annual conventions and coauthored a chapter in a school psychology book titled Self-Regulated Learning Interventions With At-Risk Youth. 

Prior to joining SSEC, Brian taught middle school science for 13 years in Virginia and Maine. In his free time, he is an adjunct professor at George Mason University teaching classes that focus on curriculum and instruction, learning theory, and instructional design. Brian earned his PhD in Educational Psychology with a secondary emphasis in Instructional Design from George Mason University in 2013. Brian also has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from the University of Delaware and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Southern Maine.

Richard Vineyard

Richard N. Vineyard, Ph.D. is the Lead Program Manager for Science & STEM education for Pepper and PCG Education. In this role, he works with the Pepper team to identify and develop new high- quality resources to support professional learning in science education. 

Prior to joining PCG, Richard worked for 17 years at the Nevada Department of Education, first as the science consultant and then as the state assessment director.  He also has experience as Director of the Center for Science and Math Education, at Weber State University. With over 25 years working in science and science education, Richard brings a strong background in science content knowledge along with an understanding of K-12 science teaching, learning, and assessment. 

A research scientist by training, (systematic entomology, and environmental science), Richard has developed and led a series of professional development workshops, taking teachers into the field to learn science by doing science, including the Nevada Educators Really Doing Science (NERDS) program from 2000 to 2011. Richard earned his Ph.D. in Systematic Zoology from University of Toronto, in 1990. He also has degrees in Environmental Science (Washington State University, 1977) and Biology (Central Washington University, 1981).
Enter Name of Authors (Author 1 First Name Last Name, Author 2 First Name Last Name)
Course Code: SCIS402
Course Release: Aug 30, 2018
Estimated Effort: 3.5 Hours

Suggested Prerequisites:

Request Info