Here is a simple structure for scaffolding a science video clip with students.
Predict: What will happen when you wring out a soaking wet washcloth in the microgravity of the International Space Station?
Observe the video below. (Click HERE if you cannot see the clip.) Where does the water from the washcloth go?
Explain why this happened. Make a claim and support it with evidence and reasoning.
Imagine scientists attempting to describe their work to the public… using only the 1000 most common words in the English language. Well, that is exactly what is happening. A program inspired by Up Goer Five a strip by online comic xkcd (if you do not follow- you need to check it out) is promoting graduate students in science fields to attempt this challenge. Read a blog post HERE to learn more about the challenge and read the outcomes. Below is the winning entry by Yasmeen Hussain- note the scientific conference language versus the 1000 word challenge language:
Yasmeen at a scientific conference: I study the link between sperm chemotaxis and fertilization success. Eggs in animals such as sea urchins release chemicals that act as sperm attractants. Sperm use chemotaxis – that is, orientation towards the source of a chemical gradient – to find the eggs. However, it is unknown whether sperm chemotaxis directly contributes to reproductive success.
Yasmeen’s 1000 entry: I study tiny things that are man and woman parts of an animal. The woman part talks and the man part listens. The tiny things have a conversation so that they can find each other and make babies. Some man things are better at listening than others. I want to know if the man things that are better at listening are also better at making babies.
I think this work has implications for us in science education- How can we take vocabulary-rich and conceptually dense ideas and help students to explain them in everyday language?
John Green has a new YouTube channel called Mental Floss. The first episode was on 50 common misconceptions. While most of these are not conceptual science misconceptions they are still pretty interesting and fun to watch. See embedded clip below- Enjoy!
Next week I will start teaching K-8 Science Methods courses to three different groups of preservice teachers. In my state, this is typically the ONE science education related course that elementary educators receive. It always feels like a huge responsibility… that in just a matter of hours over the couse of 10 weeks I am charged with conveying all of the necessary habits of mind, pedagogy, knowledge and beliefs necessary to be a successful teacher of elementary science.
So on that note, I’m asking all of you to help me out. What would you like to share with this group of emerging elementary teachers regarding science education? Perhaps a bit of advice, a quote, a tip, or a word of encouragement. What do you wish someone would have shared with you? Please leave some thoughts in the comments and I will pass it on. Thanks.
I found this excellent desktop image on Design Milk and wanted to share it with you all…”Design is where science & art break even”. Click HERE to learn more about the artist, Lisa Congdon, and to download the image.
This somewhat scientific take on Santa (Does Santa Really Exist?) and what might be required for him to actually make all of his deliveries is pretty entertaining in a very dark way. WARNING: you may want to make sure there are no young “believers” watching over your shoulder… not for little kids! Enjoy…
Just for fun… hope you enjoy NASA Johnson Style (Gangnam Style parody)
Halloween is quickly approaching so I wanted to put together my annual reminder of great Halloween related science resources online. Here are some of my faves: (please let me know in the comments of Halloween Science resources I missed)
Halloween Science at Science Bob’s Site- tons of videos and spooky science projects.
Easy Halloween Science Experiments for the Classroom- the title says it all.
Icky, Creepy, and just Plain Gross Science Projects- a page from Scholastic with lots of gross ideas- boys will love these!
The Kitchen Pantry Scientist has some good ideas: Spooky Halloween Science, Halloween Science Experiments and Alien Monster Eggs to name a few.
The Haunted Physics Lab- another source of ideas.
Last but not least, Steve Spangler always has lots of good Halloween Science ideas and video clips. See Halloween Science Recipes , Halloween Science Demos and an example video of Steve on the Ellen show embedded below:
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”.
For some Friday fun heading into Labor Day weekend I thought I would share this teacher-created song/video about variables and controlled experiments- You Know All Your Variables. Could be a nice addition to some elementary science instruction this fall. Enjoy! Thanks to Sue Selle for taking the time to make and share this.