Classroom activities on the atmosphere

November 23, 2010

Teaching about the atmosphere?  Here are a few ideas for the classroom. Activities about the atmosphere are particularly well suited for talking about air pressure, since air pressure is essentially the weight of the atmosphere pushing down on us.  At the Exploratorium we had a couple of really great activities to get at this idea. […]

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Taking tests helps you learn (maybe)

April 9, 2010

photo by Patrick Hannigan (click for Wikimedia link) I’ve written before on some interesting psychology studies on the benefits of retrieval for learning and memory.  I recently heard a talk on the subject (by Sean Kang of UCSD) that spurred me to think about it again, and also generated some interesting discussion with a thoughtful […]

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Hands-on class activities on the cell

January 12, 2010

Looking for some activities to jazz up your class lecture on the cell and biology?  Here are a few hands-on teaching activities for middle school or high school: Here are some cool cells to look at under a microscope: Cheek cells Onion cells Thin smears of ripe versus green banana, stained lightly with iodine.  Says […]

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Misconceptions about misconceptions

December 3, 2009

I’ve got a new podcast posted, this one with my esteemed colleague Valerie Otero of the University of Colorado at Boulder.  She tells us why she thinks that the idea of student “misconceptions” is very dangerous — and gives us a new way to think about student ideas in the classroom, and some activities to […]

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Name that mystery SEM sample, win a prize

November 30, 2009

A while back I blogged about a cool opportunity to get anything (yes, anything!) scanned on a Scanning Electron Microscope. Posted from the ASPEX website, here is a toy bunny, macrosize, and microsize: Though how anyone could give up that cute wittle bunny is beyond me. You can still send them samples (which I just […]

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Making light rays in the classroom

November 14, 2009

In optics experiments, you often need to create lines of light.  You can do this with light boxes, but they’re expensive, and tend to  have too many rays to be useful.  Laser light boxes are great, but again, spendy. One teacher recommends using laser levels. These are the things made to help you hang pictures […]

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Make a yummy fish mummy

October 30, 2009

Ok, it probably wouldn’t be very yummy, but here’s another hands-on activity you can use that’s rather Halloween-like.  Called “Make a ‘mummy’”, this Exploratorium activity is a great way to demonstrate how mummification works, by drying out the tissue in a fish using baking soda.  Egyptians used a specific type of salt to do this, […]

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Science activities for Halloween!

October 27, 2009

With halloween fast approaching, it’s time to take advantage of a frivolous holiday to do some fun science stuff. No post about Halloween would be complete without a reference to the Grossology site. Scroll down for  “lab activities”:  This gets high marks from one teacher who says, “It has the simpliest of the slimey things, […]

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Teaching polar science – The Boy Who Found the Light

October 19, 2009

Our latest podcast in the Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears webzine has been posted.  This is a bimonthly webzine for elementary educators, to integrate polar science into their teaching.   This month’s webzine is on arctic peoples, and the podcast features a story on how light disappears and reappears in the arctic each year, that you […]

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Free science posters!

September 28, 2009

If you’re looking to beautify your classroom, here are some links to some free science posters. No guarantees as to quality, but these links should be a helpful start!

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Hands on Science Sunday: Feeling pressured?

May 31, 2009

Here’s today’s science classroom activity.  We’re surrounded by the crushing weight of layers of atmosphere above us, but we don’t feel it.  Why?  Our perception is tuned to differences, not absolutes.  If we were in a completely pink world, we would notice anything that wasn’t pink, but (I’m pretty sure) after a few minutes, we […]

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Find that sound!

December 12, 2008

This week’s episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast actually features, well, me! Yay. It’s nice to record myself, not always other people, though the folks at the Exploratorium are so darned clever and fun, I feel it’s my mission to document every last scrap of their wisdom and energy. I’m trying… So, this time […]

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Classrooms can connect with polar scientists

November 24, 2008

This is from the Exploratorium — several opportunities to connect your classrooms with polar science, including via live webcast three times a week! Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists Webcasts at 1:00 p.m. PST December 7, 2008–January 4, 2009 Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays Connect Live with Antarctica! E-mail or call (415) 561-0359 You’re […]

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Mini Labs OR How to teach scientific reasoning without using a lot of class time

November 24, 2008

I just posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast on Mini Labs. Give it a listen!  “Zeke” Kossover is a teacher in the bay area, and he’s always posting wonderful tips about teaching — from great organizational tips to the best places to find cheap electronic components to astute tips for teaching […]

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How to see that light is a wave

October 17, 2008

It can be hard to change your view of things. I was just talking about this with a friend last night — we get used to a certain model of the world in science, and it’s rather revolutionary to see the world in a different way. If you see something that doesn’t fit your view […]

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