K-12

Put kids’ skepticism to work

October 10, 2008

In the latest episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast, you can hear (the wildly funny) children’s book author David Schwartz talk about how he used kids’ skepticism to get them to do some good measurement problem.   A class disagreed with the numbers in one of his math books, and set out to prove […]

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A time for telling

October 10, 2008

“A Time for Telling” is the title of one of my favorite papers of Dan Schwartz (Professor of Education at Stanford). In it, he argues that lecture isn’t all bad. We complain that lecture (or “direct instruction” in ed-speak) doesn’t result in a lot of learning for our students. This has been shown again and […]

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Donate to classrooms through ScienceBlogs

October 5, 2008

ScienceBlogs is helping raise funds for classroom projects in math and science.  Check out the website for the different projects sponsored by the different blogs.  Many of the schools asking for donations are in high poverty regions.  You can help sponsor a project on solar energy, get DNA model kits for a classroom, or buy […]

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Whack a Stack

October 3, 2008

Needing to teach Newton’s Laws?  Don Rathjen, staff educator at the Exploratorium, has been teaching mechanics to students for over 20 years.  This one’s an old favorite — a noisy activity with wood flying everywhere.  You can listen to Don demonstrate how to teach the activity (and geekgirl has some fun with it too) on […]

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For teachers: Summaries of research for your classroom

September 30, 2008

This just in from another blog (Discovering Biology in a Digital World): Researchblogging is a great resource for the classroom. She writes: How does this work? Bloggers who write about scientific literature use a special icon to identify those posts. They also register at the Researchblogging web site with their credentials and favorite topics. When […]

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Seeing motion with light

September 29, 2008

A fabulous science activity from Sebastien Martin over at the Exploratorium, via teacher Bree Barnett — visualizing kinetics with LED lights. See detailed instructions and more pictures over at that blog post.

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Concept maps of science (and student misconceptions)

September 26, 2008

Especially for K-12 teachers, check this baby out.  The National Science Digital Library has Science Literacy Maps online.  For a bunch of different topics (Math, Technology, Physics, Nature of Science) you can click to get a concept map of a set of topics.  In physics, for example, you can click on waves to see a […]

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Temperature and color

September 26, 2008

I just posted a new episode of Science Teaching Tips — Running Hot and Cold.  Thomas Humphrey is one of the smartest people I know (he’s a staff physicist at the Exploratorium, and studied under Richard Feynman at CalTech).  Here, he talks about what temperature and color have to do with one another, and how […]

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Adventures of a new teacher

September 22, 2008

There’s always a lot to learn when you start teaching.  But this new teacher’s story was particularly striking to me.  When she just started teaching, she was fresh out of the Peace Corps in West Africa, and this left her little prepared to teach chemistry in a portable classroom with, among other things, no proper […]

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Nobody’s ever taught you anything

September 15, 2008

We remember these great teachers who have taught us so much about the world. But did they really? Some educators firmly believe that you can’t teach someone anything — rather, they have to learn it for themselves. A great teacher is someone who helps make that happen. A great teacher is a facilitator of learning […]

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Upcoming FREE NSDL web seminars on science!

September 10, 2008

Again, for you K-12 educators out there… did you know the NSDL and NSTA offers free web seminars on science topics? These are very nicely done workshops, I’ve been to one, with a live presenter and chance to simulchat with other participants. Here’s the schedule Web Seminar 1 Date: Thursday, September 25, 2008 Time: 6:30-8:00 […]

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Whirled Music: The physics of whirlies!

September 5, 2008

Us geeks have strange hobbies. My old boss, Paul D., plays the corrugated plastic tube, also known as a “whirly.” I just posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast where he plays the whirly (like a true master) and explains the science behind the sound. It’s not quite what you might think! […]

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Everyday language helps students learn

August 29, 2008

A new study at Stanford finds that using everyday language helped students learn. The results are only preliminary, since it was a small study and they don’t have a lot of data on students’ english language proficiency, but it is still an interesting and promising bit of research. An excerpt from the Stanford Report tells […]

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Using Wikis in the K-12 classroom

August 26, 2008

I just wanted to direct my K-12 teacher readers to a really nice post from one of the NSDL sponsored blogs “Exemplary Resources for Middle School Math and Science” about using wikis in the K-12 classroom. Here’s an excerpt: Wikis in the Classroom Let’s take the course of study mentioned above as the example: Start […]

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Air has mass (and how to prove it!)

August 26, 2008

A teacher asked for a good experiment to show 8th graders that gas has mass.  “We have used balloons in the past,” she says, “but some of the kids still don’t make the connection.” Paul Doherty replied: I like to get a big weather balloon from a surplus store , inflate it until it is […]

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Make a stripped-down motor

August 22, 2008

I posted a new podcast – “Ooh you make my motor run” on my Science Teaching Tips podcast.  One of the Exploratorium staff educators, Modesto Tamez, tells how he gets students exploring electromagnets, a great preparation for making an electric motor. Here’s the Stripped Down Motor activity: www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/stripped_down_motor.html

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Sciencegeekgirl fails the geek test

August 21, 2008

Oh dear, do I have to rescind my “sciencegeekgirl” moniker? Twisted Physics just posted about a “Test your Science Savvy” quiz that was posted on World’s Fair. I got two wrong on that quiz (which disqualifies me from being a geek, by their scoring), but it was because I was thinking too hard, in a […]

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How to tell if glasses are nearsighted or farsighted

August 21, 2008

A neat observation from one of the staff physicists at the Exploratorium: Here is a little game to play with farsighted and nearsighted glasses. Ask all your students who wear glasses to put them on and stand up. Walk up to each of them, look into their eyes and you will be able to tell […]

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Make your own phonograph (podcast)

August 15, 2008

TI staff educator Eric Muller explains how to make your own record player! See my previous longer post about this activity, too. Groovy Sounds activity (PDF) More of Eric Muller’s activities

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Activities for the first day of class!

August 14, 2008

The first day of class is coming up — here are some nice activities you can use on the first day, or anytime you need a warm-up activity. One teacher suggests: Look at the Nature of Science activities at the ENSI website. There are many, many fun and interesting ones to choose from and you […]

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