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Guest Speakers in the Middle School Classroom | Posted in Next Generation Science Standards

Hi there, Form what I have gathered and having parents of my own come in and speak to classes and in the upper grade level, they nothing but love it. When members of the community have the opportunity to come in and speak to students, they enjoy every second because these are "real people" coming to talk about "Real experiences" that happen daily. As a very visual and real life learner I have found that I enjoy speakers and guest because as students we can get so caught up into the textbook and lecture life that we forget there is more out there to connect to these text books. Best of luck!


Whitnie Hutchinson

Teaching a Topic against one's belief | Posted in General Science and Teaching

Our courses all have curriculum maps (required) that are posted to the district website for parent review. So, there is no further burden on the teacher to inform parents of any "troubling" topics. Science provides the framework and model for understanding our world is not about anyone's beliefs. If a parent does complain, they can be informed that the curriculum maps - which reflect the curriculum as approved by the local school,board - are available for their review.


Cris DeWolf

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

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Tyza Faith Arenga, Suzanne Betzenberger, Lauren Jones, Flavio Mendez, Marissa Murdock

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