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I would like more information about teaching science phenomena within my classes. I feel I need additional information because I may be confusing the phenomena with guiding questions. What additional resources or suggestion could be offered or used ? I want to give my students relevant, high quality lessons.
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Hi Kembela. Science phenomena is basically using hands on activities with your students to reinforce the concepts you introduce in class. We always tried to introduce the visual, auditory, and tactile kinesthetic approaches in science. The idea is that the more senses involved, the more long term learning takes place. It's also a lot more fun for everybody.
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I had know idea what it meant to teach students "phenomena," until my professor had given us some articles to read and I also did a little research on my own as well! I came across this handy quick and simple worksheet that breaks down what phenomena is in science, what its a big deal, how its related to the NGSS and lastly especially for what you are looking for how we use phenomena to drive our teaching and our students learning! It really helped me connect it with my science methods class currently as well so I thought it would help you also!
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I also didn't know much teaching phenomena until my current class with Professor Atwood-Blaine!
I suggest following a 5E lesson plan when teaching! It is a great foundation to build a lesson to teach. The phases are Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate! (I will attach an article that explain it more in depth!)
I feel that the Engage Phases is SO important because it is the first "step" of your lesson. When picking a phenomenon for student to figure out you want to make sure you pick one that THEY will WANT to figure out. You should decide on one before you start to make your 5E lesson plan. During the Engage phase you want to grab their attention right away. During this phase you also want to discover what pre/misconception they have about the concept you are teaching. Also help them make connection between the past and present learning activities! I hope this will help you start to write you lessons!
Methods and Strategies: Time to Change (Journal Article)
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When I first heard about teaching a phenomena, I assumed that I would be teaching some over the top lesson to my students. Many of my classmates have already responded to your post with a link or reference to an article that our professor gave us about teaching a science phenomena. This article helped me become more comfortable with teaching phenomena's. One of the key ideas that I took from this article is that students have the ability to identify an answer to "why do I need to learn this?" before they even know what the “this” is. It is also very important to remember to start your lessons and teach engaging lessons that your students will be interested in and want to learn more. Another important key point from the article is that by teaching science phenomena the learning shifts from learning about a topic to figuring out why or how something happens. I have linked the article that helped me become more comfortable with teaching phenomena below.
Using Phenomena in NGSS-Designed Lessons and Units- https://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/default/files/Using%20P...20NGSS.pdf
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"Phenomenon - a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question."
Teaching science phenomena in classes allow students to engage, explore, and explain the world around them. By combining the 5 E lesson plan model, implementing phenomena based science in the classroom students will be involved with content as a "real scientist." Scientists identify a phenomenon and gather evidence to go to a conclusion. Students are able to participate in the same process as scientist through teaching phenomena. Here is a resource I found on using a phenomenon while connecting it to the NGSS.
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For information about Phenomenon-Based Learning, see
and let me know if you'd like any more information about it.
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I love this question! For fun I follow a twitter feed @phenomena. It makes me think --- which is exactly what we want our kiddos doing. Always wondering..... NSTA has a great NGSS section and a ton of books....but to begin with try this link and scroll on down to phenomena...
One idea that worked in my teaching for years - was keeping "I wonder boards" kiddos would bring in pictures or video or questions and we would wonder what would cause it --- and then plan an investigation based on their wonder. They loved getting to pursue their questions.
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I didn’t know a lot about using phenomena in lessons until my professor introduced it to us in class. The article that Brianna Marvin linked above (“Using Phenomena in NGSS-Designed Lessons and Units”) is one of the resources that helped me better understand the concept. Two things that really stuck out to me in this article was that, “The focus of learning shifts from learning about a topic to figuring out why or how something happens” and that two, when students start explaining phenomena and designing solutions they build general science ideas that can help them make connections with the real world, which in turn lead to deeper thinking and knowledge. Also, the section titled “How do we use phenomena to drive teaching and learning?” and the chart at the very end helped my understanding immensely!
When I was doing my own research I came across a Journal Article that discusses how to turn any lesson to phenomena-based, it had a great visual (planning template) on ideas to layout your lesson!
The NGSS-ification of Too Slow to Notice: How to Turn Any Unit into a Phenomena-Based, Student-Driven Investigation (Journal Article)
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Phenomena is a new thing to me that I am currently learning about in my Science methods class. I have done some research on the topic and found a few great articles explaining what it is and how to use it in the classroom. Reading about examples that teachers have used in their own classrooms is really helping me figure out my owns thoughts and ideas about phenomena.
Phenomena are observable events that mainly serve two purposes
-increase student engagement
-make subsequent lessons more coherent
Many people think that phenomena has to be something big and exciting, but really can be some of the simplest occurrences. "Phenomena are often more ordinary than extraordinary." Students are more engaged when working with something relatable, relevant and familiar.
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I love the quote you have written here describing phenomena as something that is "often more ordinary than extraordinary." I agree that this is the case because there are outstanding phenomena all around us in our every day life. The fact that there are so many things that occur as a result of something else proves the relevance of science. Sharing phenomena with our students will be important because we will be able to connect the things they have already seen before and add a scientific element to them, as well ask sparking their interest about a scientific topic. Students will be more likely to experience meaningful learning when they are learning about something that they wonder about, and that is why using phenomena in the classroom is so beneficial.
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I agree. Teaching about natural phenomena is important as it provides students with the knowledge they need to better understand the world around them. As both you and Jenna emphasized, these phenomena are “Often more ordinary than extraordinary.” As educators, though we have the responsibility to spark curiosity and wonder within our students. If presented correctly during the engage phase of the lesson (assuming the teacher is following the 5E model), I believe teachers can make the ordinary extraordinary. During the engage phase, the teacher is responsible for helping students identify what they don’t know and sparking curiosity so they are motivated to dig deeper. This could be obtained by showing a video, a photo, or reading a fiction story that cultivates interests and lead to student inquiry. The engage phase should prepare students for the explore phase, where they should engage in student-led inquiry.
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I am currently learning about phenomena in my science methods class so it is new to me as well because phenomena is something I've never really thought about before. I have found a really great blog called Teaching Elements, and one post is specifically about engaging students by using phenomena. The author, Heather Johnston, makes some really great connections and even incorporates outside resources such as NGSS and NSTA. She first talks about what phenomena is and proceeds to explain how to determine the phenomena in lessons that have already been written. She also explains the benefits of phenomena-driven instruction and shares some personal thoughts and experiences. I found this blog very useful because all of the information provided really helped me deepen my understanding of phenomena a little bit more and I hope you find it useful too!
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When I first heard of phenomena and the use of it in the classroom, I assumed that the phenomena being brought into the classroom had to be huge events that would stir curiosity within students. But, once going more in-depth into phenomena, I found out that phenomena that can be small curiosities and wonders that students have! The benefit of using phenomena is that it connects students to questions in the real world and can increase student motivation as they wonder why something happens in the way that it does. Phenomena based teaching shifts learning from "learning about" to "figuring out why" as stated in the article, Using Phenomena in NGSS-Designed Lessons and Units. I encourage you to read this article which I have attached to understand what phenomena are and how to use it in the classroom! I also will post a link to a blog post about phenomena and use in the classroom! Hope this helps!
STT42_Using_Phenomena_in_NGSS.pdf (0.47 Mb)
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When I first read this post, I honestly didn't have a lot of background knowledge about phenomena. One resource that I used to learn more about phenomena was a resource provided by the NGSS website. The resource was excellent because it outlines what a phenomena is, why it is so important in the classroom, and also how phenomena is related to three-dimensional learning. These are all very important to know and consider when implementing units and lessons over phenomena in the classroom. The other thing that this article offers that I really enjoyed is that it outlined how to use phenomena to drive teaching and learning. If educators are discussing phenomena in the classroom, it is important to do it in engaging manor to drive students interest in learning about the phenomena. All in all, this would be a great resource to start looking at to assist you in developing fun and engaging units and lessons revolved around phenomena.
Using Phenomena in NGSS: https://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/default/files/Using%20Phenomena%20in%20NGSS.pdf
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The definition to a Phenomena is a fact or a situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question. By having the students use the 5E lesson plan it can show you how to engage you students interests and help plan exploration to get to the end result. By using a 5E lesson plan template you are sharing a phenomena with out students will be important because we will be able to connect the things they have already seen before and add there own scientific elements and predictions will make more meaningful learning.
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There are some misconceptions that can come with teaching about phenomena to watch out for. For example, some believe that phenomena are just for the initial hook. However, phenomena can actually drive the lesson, learning, and reflection/ monitoring throughout. Using phenomena in these ways leads to deeper learning. Also another misconception is that engaging phenomena need to be questions. This isn't always true. Phenomena are observable occurrences. Students need to use the occurrence to help generate the science questions or design problems that drive learning. When teaching about phenomena there is a great chart that shows more misconceptions to watch out for on http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ I would definitely check this out before teaching about phenomena, it would be very helpful!
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Kennedy, the link you provided does not take me to the place you intended. I am very interested in the chart you wanted to share. Would you please try to share it again? Thank you!
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Introducing phenomena has a lot of things that you may think to be false. You want to be sure to introduce the phenomena right away rather than after learning. This will help the students build more knowledge and be able to use prior knowledge to link to the phenomena you introduce. A good way to present the phenomena is using the 5E instructional model as Keaton has posted about earlier. This is a very good way to get the students involved and present ideas and explore investigations the way that they want to and allow them to take the reigns to investigate a topic that was presented in the engage piece of the 5E instructional model. The article that Brianna Marvin posted is an article that has helped me understand the whole concept of teaching and presenting a phenomena.
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I am excited to see that teachers are starting to see the purpose of phenomena in their science lessons and implementing them into their classroom. As a preservice teacher at the University of North Iowa, I am finally starting to understand the value of phenomena in the classroom, especially at the beginning to build interest. There is a lot of good information posted already, so I thought I would give you a little insight on how to choose an appropriate phenomenon for your lesson. First of all, it should be relevant to the students' lives and have a real-world connection. They should have at least some background information or have seen the phenomena or aspects of it before. It also needs to be testable, so if kids cannot work to figure out how it works then it probably it is not a good choice for a phenomenon. It should also advance their thinking. If students already know how it works then it is not as effective. Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure it interests the students and gets them excited to learn. It doesn't have to be big and flashy and honestly, the excitement of the teacher can influence the curiosity of the students.
Phenomena should be the start of the lesson or unit and students learn about the key concepts, they can refer back to it and see how that explains the phenomenon that was presented!
I hope that helps!
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I am so excited to hear that you are wanting to learn more about phenomena and using it in the classroom! I personally think that implementing phenomena into the science curriculum opens up a door to a whole new way of learning through science. Learning through discovery and wonder creates another level of engagement that students might not have reached yet in science. I highly recommend using a 5E lesson plan. It is purposefully made and ordered to help engage your students in a more gradual progression. Personally, I love the 5E lesson plan format and plan on using it in my future classroom. I hope this helps!
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Phenomena is something new to me as well but in my classes that I am taking in my Science methods class we are learning more about this as well. With doing just a little bit of research on my own I found that a phenomena can be something small that sparks a curiosity as well as something much bigger. Just allowing yourself to take the time and make sure that if is something that your students will enjoy learning about and find interesting can make it a phenomena to them.
With doing some looking on my own I found this interesting blog that give you some ideas as well as just a little bit more in depth as to what you can do in your classroom with students. Hopefully you find it as interesting as I did.
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Like many here, I thought of phenomena as something big and out of the ordinary that would be captivating and used to get the students interested. In fact, phenomena go much deeper than that. It is anything observable in our environment that can be explained and predicted by science. This is valuable in the classroom because it gives students the ability to apply the concepts they learn to real world examples. this article demonstrates a good way to get phenomena into the classroom.
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