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Journal Cover The Science Teacher

September 2016

In every scientific discipline, the most important overall goal is to develop understanding of how the natural world works through the construction of scientific models. This issue continues our look at systems and models that we started in the Summer issue. As you’ll see, scientific models come in many forms. In “Achieving Liftoff,” students must develop models to explain what happens during a rocket launch. In “Scaling Up,” students use plant growth to understand climate change. In “Separating a Mixture,” they build models to explain ionic interactions. As you work through this issue, think about how you can incorporate model building, a central science and engineering practice, in your own classroom.

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July 2016

Fashion models, role models, economic models, model organisms, 3D models, climate models, model airplanes, model cars, and car models. We use the term model in so many ways in everyday speech, it’s no wonder students are often confused when we talk about models in science class. In every scientific discipline, the most important overall goal is to develop understanding of how the natural world works through the construction of scientific models, which are conceptual models. Our classes should be focused on engaging students in this central science and engineering practice.

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April 2016

This issue marks our 21st consecutive spring issue devoted to “Science for All.” Over these years this annual issue has presented ideas and teaching strategies for helping all learners find success in their science classes. A primary goal has been to provide instructional methods to help narrow persistent academic achievement gaps associated with ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, physical disabilities, limited English-language proficiency, and learning differences. Improving our schools and providing equitable education for all students must be among our country’s highest priorities.

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March 2016

Solar energy is clean, free, and abundant worldwide. The challenge, however, is to convert it to useful forms that can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. In this issue, the feature article “Powered by the Sun” presents an activity in which students learn firsthand how solar energy can be used to produce electricity specifically for transportation. The activity introduces students to solar-powered mass transit and challenges them to design their own solar vehicle. “Building a Greener Future,” another article using the engineering-design process, describes how students designed and built compost bins for a community garden. This issue also addresses partition coefficients in chemistry, using the starlet sea anemone in biological research, and the challenges posed by the language of science texts—and how to overcome them.

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February 2016

Nanoscience development affects almost every discipline of science, engineering, and technology. Not surprisingly, “the science of small” is also finding its way into science classrooms. In general, nano refers to a billionth of a meter—about 1/50,000 the width of a hair follicle. The term nanoparticle usually refers to small materials with a size of between 1 and 100 nanometers (nm). Because nanoparticles are so small, they have a greater surface-area-to-volume ratio, causing them to be more reactive than larger particles and useful for various applications. Nanoscience is just one of many activities and investigations covered in this issue, which also looks at wildlife cover boards, using socio-scientific issues to teach argumentation, and finding patterns in chemical compounds.

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January 2016

Science is all about asking questions and constructing explanations, while engineering focuses on defining problems and designing solutions. Think of science as the quest for timeless truths and engineering as the search for design solutions to problems rooted in a particular time and situation. To be sure, there is overlap. Scientists often must complete engineering tasks such as designing experimental apparatus and testing prototypes, and engineers sometimes explore new phenomena and develop scientific models. In our schools we need to educate students about engineering careers, especially our young women, who are dramatically underrepresented in engineering fields. We cannot waste precious human capital by creating another generation of students who can say, “I have no idea what an engineer is.”

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