Our friends at Pacific Education Institute have created yet another wonderful FREE resource for science educators. Technology for Field Investigations provides an overview for using technology to observe the natural environment, a variety of web tools, mobile units (apps and software), and much more. Click HERE to download the guide.
As we continue to understand and implement Field Investigations in WA State and as we move toward the Practices of Science and Engineering in the NGSS- this guide helps us to move beyond “the scientific method” and to build stewardship and systems thinking in our K-12 students.
This guide is a perfect companion to many of the other FREE guides from PEI such as the Field Investigation Guide, Fostering Outdoor Observation Skills, and Schoolyard Biodiversity Investigation Educator Guide. Enjoy and pass it on.
National Environmental Education Foundation just released an educator toolkit titled: Using Technology to Connect Students and the Environment. This will be a perfect set of resources to get prepared for Environmental Education Week April 14-20, 2013. Check out the eeweek.org site for lots of other resources for getting kids outside to do some science.
Click HERE to download the toolkit.
Click HERE if you cannot see the embedded video overview below.
MIT and NSTA have partnered to offer a FREE 12 week online biology course specially designed for teachers who want to improve their life science content knowledge. The course will be supplemented by four NSTA webinars. This looks like a fabulous opportunity.
The course runs from March 5th to May 28, 2013 and you can jump in late.
Click HERE to get full information and to register. Also see the embedded video introduction to the course.
Would you (or your students) appreciate an online overview of biology created by the funny and talented Hank Green? Then check out Hank’s 40-part Crash Course in Biology. Each lesson consists of a short (10-15 minute) YouTube video. The entire course is 7 hours but can easily be searched and used by specific biology content. See That’s Why Carbon is a Tramp: Crash Course Biology #1 embedded below. This would be most useful for high school students or college students looking for a review or refresher of life science concepts.
By the way, Hank also has a Crash Course in Ecology.
The latest video from Derick Muller at Veritasium tackles the explanation behind a tree’s ability to transport water to incredible heights. How are trees able to do this? The answer is complex and surprising. Enjoy this well-produced and engaging clip embedded below or click HERE.
Science in the Classroom from AAAS collects a variety of annotated research papers and provides teaching materials to help students better understand the structure and purpose of scientific papers. You can currently find one chemistry article and two biology articles- I’m assuming more resources will be coming soon.
Seems like an excellent resource for high school science teachers- these also provide nice resources for the Common Core State Standards focus on research and complex text.
I was scanning the Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) for the Biology End of Course assessment here in Washington state, and I had this urge to rearrange them (because I’m a dork). I thought I would share this alternate view in case others are interested. I wanted to be able to see how student life science ideas developed from a Basic understanding up to an Advanced understanding.
Click HERE to see the original Bio EOC PLDs.
Click HERE to see them arranged in a table format. I did this quickly so I apologize for any typos or other errors of layout.
On Monday I found myself working with a group of science education leaders from around Washington state. Craig Gabler from ESD 113 brought an old copy of Science in the Elementary Grades from the Centralia School District written in the early 1960s. I opened the document to the first page and found the following text.
Science education has three facets. The one is content, the other method, and the third is attitude.
All too frequently, teachers of science become too involved in the content of science. In reality, science taught in this fashion becomes just another reading or lecture course. Hence, the methods that lead the learner to develop hypotheses from observation, checking these hypotheses or guesses for validity, and eventually arriving at a conclusion, are important. Finally, the accepting of a proven conclusion, even though it is apparently contrary to fact in the attitudinal area is a necessity. Therefore, content, method, attitude assume different roles in science than in teaching history, reading, etc. Content is arrived at through method to change attitude. Science becomes a way of thinking, a method for solving problems, a retreat from the thoroughly emotional plane of living.
This text made me think of how we are still struggling to meet this vision for science instruction 50 years later… We may not use the same terminology but the gist is the same. So as we embark on the next generation of science standards, how will these standards be different? How will they help us to change and grow and improve our instruction? Or will someone just stumble on a dusty tattered copy of the NGSS document in the year 2062 and think, “We are still trying to do that”.
A few weeks ago I was leading some middle school science professional development on Systems Thinking. We were focusing on the Systems EALR of the WA Science Learning Standards and the Systems Handbook I assembled. During the session, a teacher was very concerned about this approach and expressed that “this (systems thinking) is not what real scientists and researchers do”. The statement caught me off guard a bit.. as I tend to think that a systems approach is a core part of what most scientists and engineers do.
The video embedded below, What is Systems Biology?, shows Dr. Nitin Baliga from the Institute for Systems Biology, in Seattle, discussing the importance of a systems approach in biology.
This clip could be a useful addition to your instruction on systems in high school biology or for use in a workshop or meeting on systems thinking. Any high school life science teachers should also visit the Baliga Lab Systems Education Site.
First of all, if you teach science then you should really visit Benchfly. If you work in a lab or are a graduate student in any lab science, then I’m sure you already know about Benchfly
Benchfly is a FREE video platform for sharing video tips, protocols, etc on common lab science practices. The Benchfly Blog is beautifully eclectic and while it contains some references to mature topics- it paints a compelling picture of the nature of science. The most recent blog post features The Scientific Talk Report Card. See image below. Might be cool to show high school students that even real lab scientists seek feedback on their presentations.
For an example of a Video Protocol, see Pouring an Agarose Gel.