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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

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

Guest Speakers in the Middle School Classroom | Posted in Next Generation Science Standards

I think that incorporating guest speakers is a great way for the students to be engaged and also for them to see how the content they are learning can be applied in the "real world." I am currently in a teaching program, and this is something I would like to incorporate into my future classroom. Based on my experiences in middle school, when we had guest speakers that could relate to the grade as a whole for cross-curriculum, we were able to have a class assembly. However, on the smaller scale, we typically received a handout and the speakers were always happy to spend the day to answer our questions and present. Additionally, I have even experienced a group Skype session that was a very influential experience.


Margaret Purtell

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