Ann Allison Cooke

I've taught middle school for 23 years; science for 8. I have twin 16-year-olds (B & G), two cats, two dogs. We like to play games, swim, ride bikes, and go camping.




STEAM Engine Education, LLC

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Recent Posts by Ann Allison

Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:33 PM in Summative Assessments
Of course, I had to explain to my 9-year-old son what has taken me so long this evening. I briefly said, "These are a bunch of teachers talking together about whether or not one test at the end of the year should determine a student's grade." His instant response: NO. And his reasoning: "Because they might not have studied for that exact test or information but they would know something abo...

Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:26 PM in Summative Assessments
I've spent quite a bit of time writing this (in Word), and I'm sure that I'll think of ten more things to say, or ways to say them, as soon as I press "Post Reply." I find this topic fascinating and compelling, but confusing and perhaps unsolvable. I hate to feel that way. Anyway, here's what I've agonized about all evening: A summative assessment at the end of the school year, or, as Therese s...

Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:57 PM in Why are teachers afraid to release control of inquiry science to their elementary students?
Thanks for asking. The Exit Projects are ALL inquiry, by nature. They are independent investigations designed by the student or a small team (I try to keep them down to three people tops). They come up with the topic, question, hypothesis, experimental design, . . . the whole bit. Some teachers try to limit them to Controlled Experiments, some to Field Study (observing animals), but some brave sou...

Recent Reviews by Ann Allison

Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:02 PM
5 Experiential Outside Project
Ms. Kirby and her students bemoaned the barren, ugly outdoor space in front of their portable classroom. They decided to take their available $25, lots of elbow grease, a bit of asking for help from the PTSA and the community, and make a native garden that would beautify their space for years to come. In the meantime, students used research skills, learned math and science lessons, and practiced their writing skills. The culmination of the project was a party to which the community was invited, as thanks for their help. The article provides reference to standards and internet sources. I wish the article had had more than one very small photo of the project. Otherwise, it sounds like an amazing experience.

Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:58 PM
5 Theories Are Not Laws
The answer is, it doesn't. Robertson chattily explains the difference between scientific law (a law just states what scientists find, every time they test it); a theory (a theory is a mechanism that explain laws—NOT the same usage as in everyday life); and hypotheses (one of the normal steps to develop understanding of a problem). This article will help boost your science background before you misuse the terms--just in case you might do that. The article ends with a discussion of calling evolution "just a theory."

Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:52 PM
5 Neighborhood Project-Based Learning
A local resident invited the school district to use a large plot of his land for science experiments. The land included a small forest, a stream, and a vacant field. Ms. Hayes' students first concentrated on the water. Ms. Hayes took state-offered training for their River Watch program, and then her students were able to submit data to the state-wide database of streams. The students tested the water for pH, turbidity, nitrates, phosphates, and dissolved oxygen. They collected samples of macroinvertebrates, which they then tested for tolerance to pollution. Students mapped the area and identified trees and plants. The location was close to the school, which allowed students to visit repeatedly. This is an unusual situation, and might give others ideas to encourage neighbors of their own schools to consider allowing student access to wild areas.

Recent Public Collections by Ann Allison


1 Resources

A Dastardly Density Deed
Type: Journal Article

Little Mito
Type: Journal Article

Idea Bank: Demonstrating the Self-Assembly of the Cell Membrane
Type: Journal Article


16 Resources

Watershed Seasons
Type: Journal Article

Project WET
Type: Journal Article