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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

Assigning Homework | Posted in New Teachers

From my experience in my field placements, I am realizing that parents often do help the children complete their homework quite a bit. Or students do not complete their homework at all and then are punished for not completing it. As a student, I dislike having homework that my teachers do not take for a grade. Throughout my placements, teachers do not give any points for homework, they just clip down. I do not believe that motivates students to complete homework. My personal opinion is that we should not give students packets of homework to students to complete at home. They do a lot of work throughout the day, the last thing they need is to go home and spend hours on homework.


Danielle Hardin

STEM programs | Posted in STEM

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I don’t believe that this should be thought of as a new concept because we teach students science and math almost every day, and they encounter these subjects every day. Students walk outside, and there’s science all around them. Students use math every day to pay for drinks or food, simple addition or subtraction, and counting. They use technology every day too with cell phones, laptops, Ipads, etc. These topics aren’t hard for the students to learn because they already know things about them and encounter them every day. We just need to turn them into an educational teaching that promotes higher thinking.

I would implement STEM within my class by having my Kindergarten students work on simple yet, challenging experiments. For example, my students need to build a bridge for 21 elephant counters. All of my students know how to count to 100, and they all know how to make and build things like bridges, towers, cutouts, etc. Now they need to use trial and error to see if what they think works (science). They would then need to count how many elephants they can fit (math) on the bridge they built (engineering).  In the end, the teacher can help the students record their finding on video or add the audio to a picture using an Ipad (technology).


Lindsey Huynh

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