Carolyn Mohr

I enjoy traveling to new places, hiking to new heights, and learning new things that I can share. Besides being a field trip instructor at the Chicago Botanic Garden, I teach science methods and education courses at Southern Illinois University/Carbondale and Dominican University/River Forest. I am also a Senior Online Advisor and Web Seminar Moderator for the NSTA.




Chicago Botanic Garden, Southern Illinois University/Carbondale & Dominican University

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Recent Posts by Carolyn

Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:28 PM in Life Science
What are some ideas from others who have/had animals in their classrooms?

Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:28 PM in Life Science
Hi Hailey, When I was a middle school teacher, I had fish in tanks, hermit crabs, a cockatiel, turtles, and a garter snake. My colleagues had other animals including hedgehogs, frogs, and bearded dragons.  You need to be sure your school or district doesn't have any rules or policies regarding live animals.  I found that animals that the students could interact with were more fun for them.  Th...

Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:35 PM in outdoors
Hi Lorena, There are SO many!  Can you tell us what science content you will be covering next?  We could come up with some ideas for you that you might actually use.  For example, if you are learning about shadows, students could go outside at different times of the day and measure how their shadow's length changes over time.   Hope to hear back from you! Carolyn

Recent Reviews by Carolyn

Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:59 AM
5 MORE: Scaffolding Model-making & Reflecting
Whether one uses the well established 5 E learning and teaching model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend, Evaluate), MORE, or some other inquiry structure to frame lessons, best practices (like accessing prior knowledge, uncovering misconceptions, checking for understanding, etc.) should be strategically included. The Model-Observe-Reflect-Explain (MORE) thinking frame does just that for students needing practice in modeling and reflecting. If your students need to practice the skills of conceptualizing through making models and reflecting, MORE is a good learning framework to incorporate. The authors include a grading rubric that compares students’ initial and refined models.

Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:18 AM
5 Practicing Scaffolding to Do Science
Discover how instructors at an Academy designed an environmental course for undergraduates that introduced the nature of science and the scientific method as a way to consider and solve real world problems through observation, hypothesizing, data collection and analysis. The students gained an understanding of how scientists do science by becoming scientists, too. The article shows how the instructors used scaffolding of lessons (both in-class and out-of-class assignments) to prepare students for their projects. One of the hooks for engaging students was the use of Myth Busters program segments. Whether you are teaching elementary, middle, or high school students, this article has great ideas for how to scaffold learning, involve students in phenomena of every day life, help them to distinguish between good and bad science, and practice those processes that research scientists, engineers, ornithologists, environmentalists, etc., engage in each day.

Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:49 AM
5 Children's Reality & Reality of Nature: The Same?
Have you encountered a preschool where children are outdoors daily, year-around, experiencing firsthand the many phenomena in nature? The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois, where a preschool is in its second year of operation, is such a place. Here, like the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, the children are outdoors all of the time observing, digging, gathering, exploring, etc. This article was of particular interest to me as it provides an informal science learning environment template for educators and parents of preschoolers unable to attend a preschool like the one described in the article or like the one in Illinois. It shows how to organize outdoor experiences in order to challenge children’s misconceptions about the needs of plants. The authors mention some common misconceptions of preschoolers - such as trees and grass are not plants or sunlight is only helpful because it keeps a plant warm (p.57). Besides creating activities and science experiences to lay the foundation for learning about phenomena in kindergarten, the article shares ways preschoolers can make meaningful observations, collect data, and confront their own misconceptions about what they are experiencing outside. A sunlight data sheet is included.

Recent Public Collections by Carolyn

Vocabulary Building and Reading-To-Learn Strategies

17 Resources

Several Learning Center articles provide strategies for helping students learn and understand vocabulary terms important to science concepts/content. Here is a collection highlighting several ideas.

Type: User uploaded resource

Teaching Science to English-as-Second-Language Learners
Type: Journal Article

SEPs (Science and Engineering Practices) Elementary

5 Resources

Discover ways to integrate SEPs into elementary science lessons with the articles and other resources in this collection.

Engineering Encounters: Building a Spaghetti Structure
Type: Journal Article

Engineering Encounters: An Engineering Design Process for Early Childhood
Type: Journal Article

Engineering Design Middle and High School

57 Resources

This collection contains items helpful to middle and high school teachers looking for ways to incorporate engineering design challenges into their curriculum.

Nick Goepper & The Physics of Slopestyle Skiing: Inquiry Guide for for Hands-on Investigation
Type: Lesson Plan

Injury & Recovery Integration Guide
Type: Lesson Plan