My students participate in a Writing Workshop and Peer Review Session before their last submission of their introduction. The purpose of this activity is to actively engage students in supporting each other by giving meaningful feedback. This activity is meant to model the peer-review process used by professional scientists. At this point in the class, … Continue reading Science Fair: Student Peer Review
One challenge for many teachers is how to distribute work through the year so that students can complete their work on-time and with minimal stress. I tell parents my goal is that students will not be spending a full weekend with no sleep just before the fair. I expect students to work through the year … Continue reading Science Fair: Timeline
Kids LOVE Paleontology! This isn't my writing (I found it someplace online), but in 3rd grade I wrote to my teacher, Mrs. Greene, that when I grew up I wanted to be a paleontologist and study fossils in Utah. I did grow up to earn a PhD in paleontology, and did study some fossils in … Continue reading What is up with K-12 Paleontology Education?
Generating new ideas is hard. Students can choose from a seemingly unlimited number of topics - as long as they apply the scientific method or engineering principles. Giving students the most freedom possible is a good thing. I require students to stay away from projects that are a demonstration of a known idea or product … Continue reading Science Fair: Topic Ideas
More and more people are earning advanced degrees and then abandoning a pursuit of a tenure track professorship. When I completed my PhD, I gave myself a time limit: I could pursue a "Tenure Track" job for my final year plus one, then I was going to jump ship and pursue an alt-ac (alternative academic) … Continue reading Teaching High School Science after a PhD
Student: "I'm thinking about doing ___________ for my project next year. Is that acceptable?" Firstly, there are some really easy followup questions to this. I always ask a couple of these before saying "yes" or "no" to a student's ideas. That seems like an interesting idea! Can you tell me more about it? Why does … Continue reading Science Fair: stating your question
Last fall I had the tremendous opportunity to participate in a conference for teachers who mentor students who do independent research. The weekend was sponsored by the Society for Science and the Public, and took place in Washington DC. (I strongly encourage you to apply for it if you see the opportunity. Everything about it … Continue reading Science Fair: Leading students in a literature search