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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

Getting girls involved in Science | Posted in Elementary Science

I agree with a lot of the responses here. I think that a way to get students, especially girls, involved in science is to have hands on activities. Children love to "do" things, so if they are engaged with fun and unique experiments, they will love it. It is also important to make sure they are working in groups. I think it would be helpful to balance out the groups with more advanced children and children that need more help. This allows peer-teaching. Overall, it is important to makes sure science is fun and enjoyable. If you are enjoying science, your students will most likely enjoy it!


Kirsten White

Kindergarten activities | Posted in Early Childhood

From the semester I spent with kindergarten students, I have found that they are very hands-on. I would suggest maybe exploring the environment around them and relating it to the sorts of science they will be learning about. For instance, taking them on a walk around the building and talking about living vs. nonliving things they see, weather, etc. The more they can dive into it, the more I would think they would a foundational interest in science.


Ellen Watters

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