Learning Center Profile

About Me: I teach 7th and 8th grade Math,Science, Design and Engineering. I received my National Board Certification in EA Science in 2006. This is my 20th year of teaching.
Affiliation: Pacific Middle School
Location: Renton, Washington
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2002 12:00 AM
Last Visited:
Total Posts: 1144
Private Message: Send Sandy a Private Message
IM: gadysj
Recent Posts by Sandy
Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:01 PM in
LaToya, could you be a little more specific where you heard about the “Picture Perfect Science Webinar?” I am not sure I know what NSTA 14 is, though I am guessing you may be referring to the most recent National Conference in Boston. I did a search of the upcoming seminars and can’t find anything being offered in the future. When I did an “Advanced Search” of archived seminars, I found t...

Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:33 PM in Digital Badges
For years now, I have changed my focus from “rewards” as such, to motivating students through acknowledging their quest for learning. A new system that has emerged within the last year or so includes electronic or digital badges students can earn. These badges are similar to what you can earn here in the NSTA Learning Center. The good news is, the badges can follow students through their whole ...

Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:24 PM in reward system?
I have taught middle school for 22 years and have used both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Early in my career, it was so much easier to use the external motivators such as watching the movie, “Frozen.” Now however, there are often pacing guides that have to be caught up with, testing that has to be done – after all, we leave no child left untested or left standing – so every moment has to be s...

Recent Reviews by Sandy

4 Greenhouse Design
I love the opportunity for students to be able to research and apply their newfound knowledge in a context that is of interest to them. The lessons presented are well thought out as to how to design a greenhouse. I love the fact students build a prototype of their finished design. I wanted to incorporate more math, so I modified the lesson to include scale, their model had to use an appropriate scale that corresponded with plans they had to sketch out. I also had them do testing on design shapes to see which accommodated the need of the plants as well as achieving the greatest area in which to grow their plants. Within their proposal they had to compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of two possible designs. This included them justifying their recommendations making the math transparent in terms of building size, maintaining the desired environment and cost.

5 Hmmm, Which Do I Choose?
I always love these articles that share out several really good trade books that I might otherwise miss. When these come out, I photocopy several sets, then hand them out to my middle school students. Their job is to read through the titles, tell me which ones they think would make wonderful additions to our classroom library and a justification. I then have them go onto Amazon, look at reviews posted by other readers to see if they can come up with further evidence that they could include in their proposal to me indicating which to buy and why. They can also use the opposite approach and tell me which ones I should not consider and why. I then have them take their recommendations and share them in a jig saw fashion with other class mates with the sole purpose of coming up with a list of four that I will purchase and have available. Students have really enjoyed writing for a purpose, especially when they have to include evidence. For several, this is the first time they have had a chance to have their voices heard as well as having to provide justification and evidence for their choices. The fact they really get to have the books in the classroom is a bonus. I have to admit, the first one that grabbed my attention was, “What if You Had Animal Teeth!?” While the book is listed as K-5, it was a really fun read. Recently released was “What if You Had Animal Hair?”

5 STEM in a Real World Context
All I can say is, “Wow.” At first I was a little intimidated by the title and the first few paragraphs. Then it hit me, this will be a series of lessons for my middle school students that will enable them to see how STEM really works in the real world. This article was an excellent read. There were many considerations I had not pondered before. Specifically, “This approach uses all parts of a tree – the bulk of it for lumber or paper products and the waste for fuel.” The lesson has been tested in middle school classrooms in various settings with success. The lesson is extremely well laid out and easy to follow. I am especially appreciative of the integration of Math in a meaningful manner, while maintaining a strong Science presence. While my students struggled with the rigor of these lessons, they were just what they needed before getting ready to take our state assessment in a couple of weeks. The students were all commenting on how appreciative they were to have experienced the learning. They feel ready to take on the world.

Recent Public Collections by Sandy

30 Resources

Thinking Engineering
Type: Journal Article
Grade: Elementary School, Middle School

Action Research Meets Engineering Design
Type: Journal Article
Grade: Elementary School

1 Resources

E-Portfolios: Documenting Student Progress
Type: Journal Article
Grade: Elementary School

1 Resources
I created this collection to house information on digital portfolios. When I create a collection, I put everything I find useful in the collection, then sort out what I want when I need it.

E-Portfolios: Documenting Student Progress
Type: Journal Article
Grade: Elementary School