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Garden Activities | Posted in Life Science

Having students write poetry that could later be displayed throughout the garden would be a great cross-curricular activity. They would use their knowledge of imagery, personification etc. and write poems related to insects, pollination, ecology, and/or plants.

Robert Harvey

Kindergarten activities | Posted in Early Childhood

I believe, especially with science lessons, that the students can help direct the curriculum through their natural interests. Begin a conversation about what they are interested in and make that into a concrete lesson. For example, Frozen is really big right now so make the natural connection from that to a lesson on snow and ice. Investigate how water can transform to these, find out what it feels like, learn about snow flakes, weather related to snow etc. If they are directing the lessons, they will be much more engaged and take much more from it.

Allison Shinners

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

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