Lara Smetana

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Recent Posts by Lara

Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:50 AM in Earthquake and Tsunami lessons
Thanks, Pam, for a such an extensive list of resources! I will also share the PBS Mountain Maker, Earth Shaker activity and related resources. Visualizations such as these can help students make sense of the abstract concepts. This would also be an opportune time to tie in some nature of science discussion. A history of science lesson on continental drift theory and the opposition that Alfre...

Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:55 AM in NASA - Favorite Links, Multimedia & Lessons
My science methods course recently welcomed NASA Educator Rick Varner from the Goddard Space Center to campus for a lively introduction to NASA's vast collection of educational resources. Rick led the group of pre-service teachers and visiting in-service teachers through a variety of standards-based lessons related to earth-moon-sun concepts. The activities were effectively modeled in accordance...

Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:01 AM in Why Must We Mentor New Teachers?
Kate, I can not agree more. I began my teaching career in Fairfax County, VA and the success of my first year was greatly influenced by the support provided by fellow teachers in my department and school, as well that provided through the Great Beginnings New Teacher Induction Program sponsored by the district. The opportunity to come together with other middle school teachers from across the di...

Recent Reviews by Lara

Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:44 AM
4 Good practice for upper elementary
The authors clearly explain the difference between observations and inference. Making observations and inferences are important science process skills and understanding how the two contribute to scientific knowledge is critical to understanding the nature of science. The authors provide a variety of assessment tools that help students demonstrate such an understanding in both their own day-to-day experiences and in their science investigations. Because it is important for students to see the role and importance of both observations and inferences in scientists' work, it is critical for teachers to discuss this explicitly with students. Literature connections are especially useful for elementary teachers.

Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:47 AM
5 2009 results and test items are now available
This is an update to a previous review. The 2009 results and sample test items have been released. NSTA hosted a web seminar for those interested in learning more about the test and the 2009 science score report. The web seminar is archived and available at:

Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:00 AM
5 New to NAEP? This is a great starting place.
The authors acknowledge the challenge of creating effective questions that probe for deep conceptual understanding of science topics. The NAEP questions need not function solely as test prep for standardized tests; they can be embedded into instruction throughout the year as diagnostic, formative and summative assessments. The article outlines specific strategies for doing so, including how to carefully analyze student responses. Note: Samples from the 2005 NAEP tests are now available at

Recent Public Collections by Lara


16 Resources

Podcast: How Science REALLY Gets Done: Scientific Method
Type: Podcast

Podcast: Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry: Features of Inquiry
Type: Podcast

Ecological Footprint

10 Resources

What does it mean to "go grean?" This collection is designed to help teach about ecological footprints and the choices that influence the size of these footprints (at the personal, local and global level).

Podcast: Earth Then, Earth Now: Our Changing Climate: Observations of Change
Type: Podcast

Scope on Safety: Greener is cleaner, and safer
Type: Journal Article