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Journal Cover The Science Teacher

March 2009

This issue of The Science Teacher marks our 14th consecutive annual issue devoted to the theme of inclusion of all learners. This theme serves as an umbrella for ideas and strategies to mitigate academic achievement gaps associated with ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, physical disabilities, limited English language proficiency, learning differences, and even gifted abilities. Enriching the classroom experience for all learners will contribute fabric to the great patchwork heritage that is our nation’s strength.


Add to Cart A Smoother Acceleration
The Science Teacher, Mar 09
Some may argue that gifted children have many education options, but these options do not always help gifted students learn science. Unfortunately, gifted students often do not reach their full academic potential—they are frequently less motivated to succeed because they are not being academically challenged in regular classrooms (McCoach and Siegle 2003). To counter these problems, a strong option for educating gifted students is acceleration. This article describes the challenges that more and more gifted students face when accelerating, particularly when skipping an entire academic year. Strategies to lessen their intensity and duration and, ultimately, help gifted students to succeed are also included.
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Add to Cart Career of the Month: An Interview With Science Institute Program Director Laura Heisler
The Science Teacher, Mar 09
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Laura Heisler always wanted to apply her interest in science to help people and make a difference. As a science program director, she brings together scientists, members of the business community, and others for the benefit of both society and the scientists. A people person with a broad background in science and communication, Heisler bridges diverse groups to reach common scientific goals.
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Add to Cart Classification and the Dichotomous Key
The Science Teacher, Mar 09
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Classification is a vital science-process skill for all students to master. Understanding dichotomous keys as a means of classification enables students to better comprehend large amounts of information and understand how to organize, compare and contrast, and analyze that information. To biology students, mastering the dichotomous key provides an avenue through which they can identify any organism they come in contact with. This article discusses how to approach and teach the concepts of classification and identification in science classes.
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Add to Cart Health Wise—March 2009
The Science Teacher, Mar 09
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My students are on their cell phones all the time! Do cell phones really harm the brain? And what about the teen brain?
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Add to Cart Idea Bank: Astronomy for Students With Sensory Impairments
The Science Teacher, Mar 09
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The Space Exploration and Experience (SEE) Project and Yerkes Astrophysics Academy for Young Scientists (YAAYS)—both at the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin—are designed to promote active learning in astronomy and physical science for all students, including those with vision or hearing impairments. Resources include the Hands-On Universe (HOU) facility and the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Active Astronomy (AA) curriculum kits. This Idea Bank discusses these resources, which allow teachers to help all students—with and without sensory impairments—to participate in the 2009 International Year of Astronomy (IYA) experience.
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Add to Cart Making the Connection
The Science Teacher, Mar 09
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Secondary science teachers are faced with an increasing number of students whose first language is not English and charged with preparing them for federal- and state-mandated end-of-course exams. In many states, these high-stakes tests play a crucial role in making decisions about promotion, graduation, and placement. Current policies generally dictate that English Language Learners (ELLs) demonstrate language and academic proficiency in content areas such as math, science, social studies, and English after one year in the U.S. school system. This article offers practical techniques to help ELLs achieve success in the science classroom.
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Add to Cart Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12 (Books published in 2008)
The Science Teacher, Mar 09
Today’s classrooms have no real walls! Students explore the world on field trips, during virtual journeys on the world wide web, and through the books they read. These pathways help them fly to the ends of the universe to satisfy their scientific curiosity. Again this year, the professionals of the NSTA/CBC Review Panel for Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12 have been pleased to serve as travel guides, identifying the best in trade books for student explorations. Not only are these books accurate, up-to-date, and attractive, but they also represent a new, creative path to inquiry. The journey begins here—come along!
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Add to Cart Reflective Writing
The Science Teacher, Mar 09
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Your students successfully completed a lab session, correctly filled in all of the worksheets, and collected the required data. Yet, as a science teacher, you still find yourself wondering—what did my students actually learn? And, can they apply that learning to what is going on in their everyday lives? The process of critical thinking and knowledge application requires more than rote memorization and the ability to get answers correct on lab reports or multiple-choice tests. Purposeful, guided reflection may be an opportunity to gain insight into what students are thinking and learning in relation to science content. This article describes how to use guided reflective writing in the science classroom to provide a window into students’ minds.
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Add to Cart Safer Science: Lifesaver Resources for Chemical Selection
The Science Teacher, Mar 09
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High school science teachers, supervisors, and chemical hygiene officers (CHO) can turn to a number of internet resources for help when making decisions about hazardous chemical use. Before considering these resources, it is important to research local Board of Education and government policies on hazardous chemicals. For instance, many boards now ban the use of mercury and mercury compounds. This article discusses two outstanding resources that are useful hazardous chemical “hit lists": The Banned Chemical List and Rehab the Lab.
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Add to Cart Teaching With Multiple Methods in Mind
The Science Teacher, Mar 09
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Teachers know what a daunting job it can be to ensure that all students in a class learn effectively. In addition to the usual difficulties of gaining everyone’s attention at once, instructors also run into the issue of preferred learning styles. In any classroom environment, the same topic is taught to multiple students, and each student may prefer to learn a certain way. Therefore, this article presents a teaching model that uses multiple methods to maximize their understanding. This model can be used when introducing a new topic, such as a unit on resister circuits, which is illustrated here.
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