Specially developed methods and materials assist teachers with inclusive experimentation instruction.

Encouraging students in a differentiated and individual manner while respecting the growing differences among them – this is the fundamental principle behind inclusive instruction, an educational concept that is being politically supported in Germany. Under this concept, all students, regardless of handicap, support needs or cultural, lingual and socio-economic background, should receive optimal, individual and joint instruction.

To enable teachers to integrate this concept, including learning environments, into classrooms, they need suitable instruction and learning materials in addition to initial and advanced training and the development of support conditions. However, the appropriate programs for use in scientific-technical subjects are rare.

In cooperation with strong partners

Therefore, Siemens Stiftung supports teachers implementing the inclusive instruction education concept in STEM subjects. Together with our cooperation partners, the Berlin Ministry for Education, Adolescents and Science represented by the iMINT-Akademie (STEM academy), and the State Institute for School Quality and Teacher Training in Saxony-Anhalt, we have developed exemplary, inclusive learning units. These enable a differentiated and nevertheless joint development of scientific-technical questions in diverse groups. The teaching and learning materials are based on things such as Experimento, Siemens Stiftung’s international educational program, as well as the standards for experimenting in inclusive instruction from the iMINT-Akademie.

The experimentation units developed in the iMINT-Akademie for the fifth and sixth grades address the subjects "Substances in Everyday Life" as well as "From Senses to Measurements". While the experimentation units developed by the State Institute for School Quality and Teacher Training in Saxony-Anhalt focus on the topics of energy, the environment and healthcare. The materials are geared towards the potential and needs of students with different educational backgrounds: All of them work on the same topic, while those starting at a lower level receive incremental hints, in addition to, more in-depth, extra little assignments tailored to different levels, which take the individual working and learning pace into account. The learning environments on the subjects of substances and measurement also include media for language development and the promotion of high-performing students.

In the 2016/2017 school year, teacher training courses and workshops on the introduction of inclusive materials were launched in Saxony-Anhalt and Berlin-Brandenburg. Plans are underway for practice-oriented, three-stage face-to-face courses and the continuous further development of materials.

Inclusive materials in use

The experimentation units create the basis for the individual promotion of students in inclusive STEM instruction, without relinquishing the classroom community. All students actively participate to the best of their abilities and, in doing so, contribute to setting tasks. As a result of this diverse, yet communal approach, learning-process-related values such as team orientation, tolerance and sense of responsibility are brought to life in the classroom. The didactic hints give teachers, among other things, suggestions on how to integrate the topic of values into their teaching.

The materials belong to the currently 3,000 Open Educational Resources (OER) in the media portal, which are available to all users throughout the world under the open license CC BY-SA 4.0. Furthermore, they can be downloaded without prior registration, adapted to users' needs and shared with others. The OER are available in German on the state-run education servers from Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt as well as on Siemens Stiftung's media portal, the online platform for quality-controlled and curriculum-oriented teaching and learning materials.