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STEM and Fairy Tales | Posted in STEM

This is a great idea to getting STEM into the classroom. Since the idea of STEM is somewhat a new idea i'm glad this shows how easily it can be incorporated. I also like how this activity can be used with many different books or novels so as a teacher you don't have to struggle to get a specific book.


Olivia Meincke

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 Elementary Science

Hi Rochelle,

Field trips can be a great way to engage students with science.  Our school asks us to include one field trip for each class.   Local museum and other educational institutions are a good place to start.  I've taken my chemistry students to a local aquarium the past two years where they have a hands-on program on water quality in the aquarium as well as a local waterway.  Biology students do a program at the natural history museum.  Environmental science students have done field studies at local parks, a waste treatment plants and composting facility.  This year we began the school year with a service project.  Students were bused to a number of location organizations, parks and institutes to do some volunteer work, but also to learn about the needs in the community.  A couple groups went to a local nature park and another to an arboretum where they both helped in planting and weeding and also learned some of the science behind maintaining a healthy ecosystem.  Think about what resources are available in your area and then make some phone calls.  

Rebecca Falin


Rebecca Falin

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