Integrating Science and Literacy Education

Burst Science 2011

Fellow designer Takao Umehara and I collaborated with experts at UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science to design a curriculum guide and instruction support for science educators in the form of an iPad app. Burst Science was an evolution of an earlier partnership called Seeds of Science, Roots of Reading that integrated reading and literacy skills with science curriculum, and was the forerunner to Amplify Science.

Based on our conversations with members of the Lawrence Hall team and our product manager, Takao and I approached the design from two perspectives; preparing for class and delivering a lesson.

My Role on Burst Science

  • Interaction design
  • Interface design
  • Iconography
  • Prototyping

Takao took the lead on the overall aesthetic for the app, including the typography and branding elements.

Navigating Science Curriculum

Takao and I translated the course, unit, and lesson structures from the Lawrence Hall team into an iPad interface.

The Courses landing screen.
The Earth Science course overview with access to each unit within.
The Summary view outlines the goals and practices of the unit.
The Goals view describes the science and literacy skills and knowledge that will be developed in the unit.
The Sessions view lists all the lessons and assessments that comprise the unit.

Teaching a Lesson

I explored several means of conveying the progress of an educator through a lesson (including growing grass!), but ultimately settled on a segmented bar that serves as both navigation and an overview.

The in-class view that supports pacing and preparing transitions between portions of the lesson.
A projected slide with notes for the educator.

Providing Supporting Information

We wanted to provide educators with an easy way to refer to science terms and to dive deeper into their meaning while in class.

The popover to control in-lesson support features.
Lesson vocabulary toggled on.
Vocabulary organized into three sections; terms specific to the lesson content, scientific method inquiry terms, and language and prompts for students to frame their questions and arguments in scientific terms.
Inline definitions and sources of further information for a vocabulary term.