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Teaching for Conceptual Understanding in Science | Posted in Professional Learning

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

NSTA National Conference in LA | Posted in Northrop Grumman Foundation Teachers Academy 2017

Hi Fellows- We will be meeting in just two weeks! I have enjoyed reading the introductions each of you have posted as it gives me faces with names- thank you! Attached is a short PowerPoint you can view that covers some helpful information as you get ready to travel to LA. Please review this at your earliest convenience. If you have any questions after viewing please post them here in the forum and I will reply in a timely manner. Warm Regards- Wendy


Wendy Binder

First Day of School Science Activities | Posted in Life Science

You can use a science lesson to create your seating arrangements. Pass out a picture of an animal to each student. Make sure no animals are duplicated. Let students share their animal with the rest of the class. Discuss what all of the animals have in common and what makes them different. Have the students group themselves based on their animals' similarities (i.e. classify the animals). Then group their desks to match the groups they've created. This doesn't have to be a permanent seating arrangement, but it's a fun lesson that allows the students to be (or appear to be ;)) in control.


Lauren Switzer

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