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Incorporating science in a family vacation trip | Posted in Informal Science

Greetings!

As teachers, we’re always on the prowl for ideas and resources for our classrooms. You can tell who the teachers are at amusements parks (figuring out the physics principles at work), on the beach (identifying shells and other critters), and on the hiking trails at state and national parks (with binoculars and guidebooks or ID apps). We take (drag?) our families and friends to museums, science centers, zoos, nature centers, botanical gardens, and arboretums. Even at historical sites, we can find applications of science to share with our students (for example, while my husband and I were exploring the history of the Gettysburg Battlefield, I was also photographing the lichens on the monuments). We stop the car to photograph interesting rock outcrops or fantastic cloud formations. Our souvenirs include rocks, sand samples, fossils, pressed wildflowers, maps, brochures, books, and thoughts and reflections about improving what we teach. (Be sure to follow local procedures about sample-collecting, though. Photographs are good!)

My husband got used to the fact that our vacations always had a science component! And I enjoyed sharing my experiences with students.

Mary B.


Mary Bigelow

Teaching Earth Science for the first time | Posted in Earth and Space Science

I don't remember where I got this (possibly Facebook - or here!) but I use an inflatable globe and throw it out to a student. The student catches it and tells me how many of their fingers are touching water. They then share something about themselves and toss it to another student. Tally up the number of fingers touching water for each student and then calculate the average at the end It should be close to 70%, the amount of the planet's surface covered with water.


Cris DeWolf

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

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