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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

Physics Songs | Posted in Physical Science

Look for Physics Pholk Songs by David and Ginger Hildebrand. I have the CD and they have 14 physics songs - not rap for sure. Entertaining and pretty accurate. You may be able to download and not need a CD.

Donald Boonstra

First Day of School Science Activities | Posted in Life Science

Payton, I really like your idea of group work and discussion in the classroom. This form of teaching should be implemented in every grade level. It is a positive way where students can learn from one another as they are collaborating together on a group project. Different roles are divided between the students in each group allowing students to depend on one another. Discussion, in my opinion, allows students to reflect on what they learned that day, provide opinions about the assignment, and possibly suggest what they want to learn more about. This process makes students become active learners! I can see my future classroom using these learning strategies.

Lory Hernandez

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