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Chem for those who do not like it | Posted in Chemistry

Hi! I think you have hit the reason for NGSS right on the head! The phenomenon approach to learning is what drives those students in the classroom. When teachers engage their students with phenomena they have a true curiosity or interest in the interest levels in the classroom drive up. Students are shifting from this rote memorization or even just learning content in isolation; to having a role and a mission of trying to figure something out. Chemistry is especially daunting in isolation. When you give students a task, then build a story around that task where now they need to know this information to complete the task. They will be more engaged. The hardest part is choosing a phenomenon that fits your students. You should figure out what are they interested in. What are things that would hook them? Once you get to know your students more you will know the types of phenomenon’s that will drive them.


Jessica Holman

Different levels of understanding | Posted in Elementary Science

One thing I have done is leveled puzzles...not hand outs but actual puzzles. If a student finishes their work, they can go to a side table and work on a puzzle of their choice. I started with simple puzzles but over the course of the year, I increased their difficulty. I used jigsaw puzzles or tangrams...I found one kind of puzzle where all the pieces were square with four different pictures on each side and the pieces fit together in only one way--these were extremely challenging and students took many days/weeks to complete (sorry I don't remember what they were called). Puzzles are quiet, independent activities. With only five students, they could collaborate on more difficult puzzles. If they are old enough, you could have them design a puzzle for their peers and let them actually print/cut the puzzle to give to the other students. Great way to engage them in  and teach about the design process.


Lisa Mitchell

Field Trips | Posted in General Science and Teaching

Hi Jessica! I am currently a student teacher in 2nd grade. We recently took a field trip to our city's Children's Museum. There were tons of different hands on activities for them to engage in over a broad subject matter. However, they did have some wonderful areas for science specifically. One part of our Children's museum has a place called "force works" where the children can use basically a large cauldron that rushes water through the entire exhibit! The children can see how the force of the waves move whatever the put in the cauldron. In addition to this, there were areas where the children were able to see the life cycle of certain animals, specifically chicks. These are just a few of the science-related exhibits there are, but it was a great way to get the students more engaged and interested in how science works!


Rachel Steadman

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