Story time! Last year I taught plate tectonics to about 140 high school upperclassmen. Before I started, I wanted to know what their knowledge of world geography was so that when I referred to the continents, I would know if they knew what I was talking about. I made a quiz with a map of … Continue reading Let’s put the Earth back in Earth Day
Nature Study for Young Learners
The NSTA position statement on science learning for elementary students states that learning is best if its hands on, inquiry based, and thematic. Nature studies are one way to meet these requirements for young learners. Nature studies can, of course, be formal. But they don't have to be. Right now here in the Midwest, it … Continue reading Nature Study for Young Learners
Oobleck, Slime, and Dr. Seuss
Ok, I do Pinterest (doesn't everyone these days?) and found something fun I just couldn't resist sharing. It all started with Dr. Seuss. His 108th birthday is this week (March 2), so classrooms everywhere are doing many Seussical things to celebrate. In what might be the most awesome combination of chemistry, physics (sound waves), music … Continue reading Oobleck, Slime, and Dr. Seuss
Science through Children’s Literature
Every year in my course for teachers, we have a book fair. Each participant (and yes, everyone participates) has to bring at least one book and describe how that book could be used to teach science at their chosen grade level. There's the easy stuff: the encyclopedias, Eyewitness books, Magic School Bus... but what else? … Continue reading Science through Children’s Literature
Gardening with many kids
Watching seeds grow with small children can be particularly enlightening for them. Some kids just don't get to see the start of life, or understand what that means. Some good things to do are sprout seeds in baggies or grow them so they can be taken home. Scaling up to make this cost effective can … Continue reading Gardening with many kids
Beautiful, calming and serene... who wants a white Christmas? In our home, we have a thing for symmetry. And lets face it, snowflakes are full of it. Check out these images from Cal Tech. In what ways are these snowflakes the same? They have a 6-part symmetry (like other minerals in the hexagonal crystal system), … Continue reading Snowflakes
Tis the Season!
For candy in my kitchen! And its true. My favorite people to cook with are other scientists, its a lucky by-product of graduate school friends. Unfortunately, making candies and baked goods doesn't always translate well in the classroom (except, of course, for homeschoolers) but here's another chance to use something you're going to do anyway … Continue reading Tis the Season!
Birds: who else is watching?
Since you've got that feeder out your window, there is no reason that your students can't participate in meaningful scientific research! Everyone who has a bird feeder should know about this: (*disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with these folks, I just think this is one of the best examples of incorporating the public … Continue reading Birds: who else is watching?
For the Birds
Its that time of year again. The time of the year when everyone wants to start feeding birds. Maybe its the chilling frosty cold outside, or the bird-themed snowy holiday cards. Personally, I love bird feeders. They were always outside the biggest window of my childhood home, and in college I logged dozens of hours … Continue reading For the Birds