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Interaction with Force, Mass, and Motion | Posted in Physical Science

In my physics classroom, we use both hands-on activities and pHet simulations.  The hands-on activities provide concrete experience with the phenomena that my students are studying.  The computer simulations help them further explore those concrete experience by looking at the phenomena a different way.  For example, when study projectiles, I have students build mini-catapults and test how they work.  They observe and describe how motion projectile motion looks. Then they follow up that activity with the pHet simulation in which they can more easily control variables so they can test the different factors that contribute to projectile motion. 


Ruth Hutson

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

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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