Grand Rapids public schools and Van Andel Education Institute partner to implement new methods in science education

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (December 3, 2014) – All Grand Rapids Public Schools sixth-12th grade science teachers will receive professional development under a new partnership between GRPS and Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI).

Beginning Dec. 3, teachers will undergo professional development in VAEI’s “Community of Practice Model for Scientific Inquiry and Instruction.” The initial session will be an immersion experience taking place in December, followed by two workshops in February and April. During the immersion teachers experience the model from the student perspective, while in the workshops they focus on mastering the skills to transform their lessons.

More than 90 teachers will benefit from the training, which is aligned with the Grand Rapids Public Schools Transformation Plan and changes to the state’s standards. Teachers will discuss best practices and transform existing lesson plans into a new instructional delivery model that engages students in scientific practice, enabling them to learn science by doing science.

The model — known as the QPOE2® (Question, Prediction, Observation, Explanation and Evaluation) inquiry model — helps educators teach students to think and act like scientists. It doesn’t change what is being taught, but how it is being taught.

“Teachers who progress through Van Andel Education Institute’s programs implement what they’ve learned into their own curricula, impacting thousands of students,” said Jim Nicolette, Associate Director Science Academy.


Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. Through programs that provide hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities across the entire educational spectrum – from elementary through graduate school to the professional development level – Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI), VAI’s education arm, is dedicated to strengthening science education and preparing and motivating individualsto pursue science-related professions. Find out more about Van Andel Institute or donate by visiting 100% to Research, Discovery & Hope®