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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?
Learning Science Concepts through Play | Posted in Early Childhood
In the last couple of years, I have learned just how important play is to students. Play is just as important in the elementary grades, as it is for students preschool and below. I have learned that allowing students to play through STEM activities, allows them to work out their problem solving skills, monitor their emotions, and enhance their social skills. I believe that as teachers we need to remember that we can't hover. We need to allow our students to have play time. They need this time to enhance their skills in multiple different areas. One of my favorite play activities that students can do is through clay. I have seen so many different students play with clay, but I have never seen the same creation from a different student. This play can be as simple as having clay on the table and letting them create whatever they want, or it can be as complex as asking them to create different structures to hold something or withhold wind or water.
I really like the link that you added! I believe that it is so important to allow students to learn and socialize through play as well as different experiments, and these different experiments would be great in the classroom.
Science in Kindergarten: What Does It Look like, Sounds like? | Posted in Early Childhood
Robin, your children might be interested in participating in a citizen science project. See SciStarter for a list of projects, some that even preschool classes can participate in.
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