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Teaching for Conceptual Understanding in Science | Posted in Professional Development

Currently, I am entering my 4th year of teaching 7th and 8th grade science. I’ve always felt that the traditional lecture format my department employs is not the most effective way to reach my students. I’ve added numerous lab activities in an attempt to promote deeper understanding. However, it wasn’t until I stumbled across this thread and read about conceptual understanding that I felt like this is the method that I should have been using all along. The shift to NGSS blends perfectly with this style of instruction and learning. I agree with Joyce in regards to covering the curriculum. We tend to sacrifice depth of learning in favor of squeezing everything in before the next round of state testing begins.

I have read and reviewed many of the resources provided in your book “Teaching for Conceptual Understanding in Science.” I felt the different instructional strategies listed in chapter 8 were extremely beneficial. I’m left with a few lingering questions though. Based on what I’ve read, teachers need to administer some sort of probe or pre-assessment to gauge students’ misconceptions or prior knowledge before planning instruction. Are these probes supposed to take the entire class period? If not, then how do you plan the day based on information you are gathering in a 15-20 minute time span? Using the conceptual thinking model how are teachers providing instruction for concepts that are completely unfamiliar to students?

Shalen Boyer

First Day of School Science Activities | Posted in Life Science

The First Day of School is a nerve-racking experience for many students because they do not know what to expect from classes and teachers. Therefore, I find it important to give students a snapshot of how the class works. For teachers implementing inquiry-based learning practices, they need to demonstrate to students that they will never know what to expect in class, because they are in control of their own learning outcomes. Teachers could create a framework for a problem or project, allow students to work collaboratively, and bring students back together for a discussion on what they learned. The majority of suggestions for middle and high school science first day of school demonstrations are student-centered approaches where students are introduced to the scientific process.Teachers could provide guidelines to inquiry that help students think metacognitively and diverse assessments that analyze student's understanding.

Payton Blankenship

Gardening at school with young children | Posted in Early Childhood

Start a garden! It teaches children at a young age group so much! They can get involved with the planting and you can even make a quiz of what each elements are used for such as the soil, the water, the seeds, the sun, etc. The perk of the garden is, it even makes the outdoors of your school look even prettier!

Rachael Drab

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