K-12

If you could hop like a frog…

August 3, 2008

It can be tough to get K-8 students engaged in math, or to really get across the idea of size and scale.  My latest podcast features a talk by math enthusiast David Schwartz talking about some real-world size comparisons that can make size and scale relevant to children’s lives.  Give it a listen! David Schwartz’s […]

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A plethora of science teaching resources

August 1, 2008

Here is a list of useful resources for physics teaching: Simulations and Computer Modeling The National Science Digital Library just announced the creation of a new web resource for finding curriculum resources. The Open Source Physics Collection provides curriculum resources that engage students in physics, computation, and computer modeling. Computational physics and computer modeling provide […]

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The Make-Believe World of Real-World Physics (Eric Mazur)

July 26, 2008

[[AAPT Millikan Lecture: Eric Mazur]] Eric Mazur (Harvard) was awarded the Millikan prize this year, and this blog post is a detailed account of the marvelous keynote lecture he gave for the occasion. You can download the entire presentation on his website, and I recommend that you do so, because, well, it was marvelous! The […]

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Is Pluto further away than the stars?

July 26, 2008

I’ve just posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast — Which is Closest? Which is farthest away from the earth, the stars or Pluto? The answer may be obvious to you, but a lot of people get this wrong.  Here’s the task — arrange these in the order from closest to furthest […]

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Talk to your students (OR giving up power in the classroom)

July 24, 2008

[[PERC Talk, Fostering science learning in diverse urban settings, Kenneth Tobin, CUNY]] Dr.Tobin told us the story of when he plunged into a challenging experiment – to teach high school physics in urban Philadelphia. It was, needless to say, a challenge. He was an older white Australian, in a classroom with at-risk African American youth. […]

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How do you react to student answers in class?

July 22, 2008

[[AAPT Session:  Effects of variation of faculty practice on student perceptions, Chandra Turpen]] Many faculty and high school teachers use some form of peer instruction or student response system (like clickers) as promoted by Eric Mazur, but they’re used in a huge variety of ways in the classroom.  This has a sizeable impact on their […]

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Physics in the virtual world

July 22, 2008

[[AAPT Session: Study of Computer Simulations — Interface design for engagement, learning and assessment, Wendy Adams]] You know, when I first arrived at the University of Colorado, everyone was talking about these PhET Simulations that showed virtual versions of real physics phenomena, and I was really skeptical. Why simulate physics when you can go out […]

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Make ’em predict it… REALLY predict it.

July 20, 2008

[[AAPT SESSION: BEYOND PIAGET]] This will be the last post from the (incredibly thought provoking) session on Piaget. This is about the value of having your students predict what will happen in an experiment or demonstration in order to have them change their ideas about the world. For example, there’s a wonderful little demonstration/experiment about […]

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That sounds good!

July 20, 2008

I just posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast.  Exploratorium staff physicist Thomas Humphrey divulges a clever way to measure the speed of sound, and he explains how he’s used that information to measure things in the world.

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It’s "just a theory"

July 19, 2008

[[AAPT SESSION: BEYOND PIAGET]] One problem or question that I have about emphasizing that the explanations we give for phenomena are our own inventions is that we also want students to have some faith in the products of science (the traditional “content” of science) because its based on such a wealth of past experiment. Let […]

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Science isn’t "out there", it’s "in here"

July 19, 2008

[[ AAPT SESSION: BEYOND PIAGET]] Students often come into our class ready to be filled with knowledge about science. They see the knowledge as “out there,” that the teachers are there to give us the truth about the world. But, at least one perspective is that the only thing that is “out there” are the […]

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The folk theory of physics teaching

July 19, 2008

[[AAPT SESSION: BEYOND PIAGET]] Why do we teach physics? I’m in a workshop today (run by Dewey Dykstra) about how people change their ideas about the world (I’m going to try not to use phrases like “cognitive framework.”) What do we want our students to know and see? For many years, there has been a […]

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Teacher Reference Center

July 15, 2008

For you K-12 teachers out there… **Teacher Reference Center (TRC) This index of over 260 titles from the most popular teacher and administrator trade journals, periodicals, and books is now offered *free* via the EBSCO/host/platform. This database provides coverage on key education topics such as Assessment, Continuing Education, Current Pedagogical Research, Curriculum Development, Instructional Media, […]

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The Value of Support (First year stories in teaching)

July 13, 2008

I just posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast — especially for new teachers. This one features a veteran teacher telling his story of his first year of teaching, and how his supportive department was very useful in adjusting.

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The antislit

July 3, 2008

Sorry for the long delay in posting (not that it matters — I see my stats — most of you are off reading my old posts about how water goes around drains or whether polar bear fur is fiber optic). I’ve been on vacation back in my old haunts in the SF Bay Area, and […]

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Activity: Take it from the Top

June 20, 2008

Here’s something for the K-12 educators out there (or just those who like to play around with large chunks of wood. I mean, who doesn’t?). I just posted a new episode for my Science Teaching Tips podcast. Check out the new episode – “Take it from the Top”. Don Rathjen was a K-12 science teacher […]

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Fun and free science!

June 19, 2008

Here’s a totally cool output from my old “alma mater”: the Exploratorium Digital Library Afterschool Project. This website has fantastically simple videos on how to do a selection of cool activities that the creative folks at the Exploratorium have come up with over the years. The point of this particular website is to promote activities […]

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Blogs on education

June 13, 2008

Hey, I just stumbled upon this very useful list of blogs from the National Science Digital Library — all having to do with education, digital technology, and inquiry, among other things. If you’re a STEM educator (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering & Math education, definitely check out this list. What a find! Also check out the […]

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Ice Stories

June 5, 2008

One thing I love about the Exploratorium is that the folks there always like to have fun. That means they want to do all sorts of cool stuff themselves, not just talk about it. So, they get to travel to China for the eclipse, or the Arctic to see research in action. Their latest project […]

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Going to the Dogs

June 4, 2008

I just posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast — Episode 38: Going to the Dogs This one features my old boss, Paul Doherty, talking about how polarization was invented, and what it has to do with dog urine. Paul’s a great storyteller, and I love this story — give it a […]

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