Dissection in the classroom is great for a number of reasons. Susan Offner has a great article talking about
So get out your gloves and scalpels and lets cut stuff open!
In all honesty, I don't think many of you readers will have a problem looking at pictures of high school dissection, but as a precaution: if you have problems with images of animals being used for educational dissection then you may want to go read another blog. Shout out to MBA with her blog Farm to Classroom. Go check it out if you feel squeamish with this topic, or just because it's amazing!
Dissection in the classroom is great for a number of reasons. Susan Offner has a great article talking about
The structure of the brain and sizes of its components show how a shark "thinks" or doesn't think and just acts on reflexes. When a student is able to hold the brain in their hands a flood of questions come rushing out that they wouldn't have thought of before.
Here is a video of my classroom where we are working with pig hearts. Even my students who don't usually find enjoyment in slicing up things in lab found it fun to be able to trace the pathway of blood through the heart with their own hands. This is something that Elizondo Rodrigo covers in his article. Students learn through many different modalities, lecture and images can only cover a couple of these learning styles. We need something for those hands-on learners that can't get a grasp for a tricuspid valve until they are actually feeling one with their own fingers. We need to do everything we can as educators to make sure ALL of our students have a handle on what we are teaching.
So get out your gloves and scalpels and lets cut stuff open!
Today we will be looking at integration of science and other subjects into the classroom to create an integrated curriculum with your fellow teachers! First off I believe that the reason we need integration in our schools is not only because teachers in a school need to cooperate but because of the concept of multiple modalities. Here is a great resource as an introduction into multiple modalities, but the way this ties into integration is the fact that all kids learn differently! So lets look at some of the ways we can tie other subjects into our science classroom
Literacy: So I know that many of you may not enjoy your English, or language arts classes, but that doesn't mean that literacy does not have an important place in our science classroom. Literacy is not simply reading a book...
Math: Now I'm sure you are all thinking "well this is obviously going to be about physics". And you are somewhat right. Physics is the clearest way to integrate the science and math fields in the classrooms. Most students struggle in physics if they have not taken some calculus or trigonometry before. Well what about math in life science? You might be surprised to find out that there is a ton of math involved in life sciences. So much math that there's even a book about it! The purpose of this book is to show how math is used in life science (apply named book); things like carrying capacity, chi squared tests, genetic drift, even punnet squares! All of these take skills that cannot only be taught in the science classroom but can be integrated into student's math classes to reinforce these skills for both.
P.E.: What is that saying? Those who can't do teach, and those who can't teach teach gym. At least the first part is a saying, the second part is from School of Rock. Well while it may make me laugh I do not agree with this statement. Physical education is one of the most important subjects in schools and we can easily integrate it into the science classroom.
You need to be prepared! Now I am sure, going into education, you have taken a class or two about classroom management. In those classes we compile a huge list of management tools and that is the first step to being prepared: Organization!
You need to take all of those collections of information and organize so you have the tools for success. Here is a great PDF going over some classroom strategies and why they are important. Another great tool is "The First Days of School" written by Harry Wong...maturity people. One of Wong's big messages is having resources that you can always refer back to and he again emphasizes being prepared.
In our class we talk extensively on what makes up the class period and how to effectively instruct through all of those periods and those are:
Having these sections divided up and knowing what is encompassed in each part is an absolute key to success in managing a classroom.
The people at Stanford put out a really good article dealing with another key to classroom management and that is getting personal. Students respond better to teachers that they feel know and respect them. Asking pointed questions regarding student interest is one way of achieving this according to the article and I think we can all agree we have seen this in the classroom.
Well that's it for the day folks, go out and start building your management resources!
The captain of a ship was telling this interesting story: "We traveled the sea far and wide. At one time, two of my sailors were standing on opposite sides of the ship. One was looking west and the other one east. And at the same time, they could see each other clearly."
How can that be possible?
So, are you stumped? Well let me help you out a little bit, while the sailors were standing on opposite sides of the ship that doesn't mean they were looking away from each other. While this is one of the more straightforward Brainbusters I have seen, it is still a great example of how we as educators can engage our students at the beginning of class.
Students have a lot to process throughout the day, and that means they might be a little tired or disinterested when they get to your class. Don't let that discourage you, it's hopefully nothing personal they just need a way to help them jump into your lessons. While Brainbusters may not be extremely lesson specific they are still the first on my list of engaging activities to bring students into your lesson.
Did you every do a mystery box activity as a kid? You stick your hand through a hole into the box and you have to guess what is inside without being able to see it? Well isn't that perfect for an engaging activity to demonstrate the nature of science? Students attempt to individual describe what is inside the box and make hypotheses as to what is contained within. Students then bring these indirect observations together to revise these hypotheses and only then can we remove the barrier to show the rest of the information. Showing students that science is always changing with the introduction of new data and collaboration.
Another similar engaging activity to demonstrate the nature of science is a check lab. In this activity students are only given small bits of information at a time (canceled checks) and asked to make observations, inferences and hypotheses every step of the way. These hypotheses are continuously revised as more information is given and like the mystery box demonstrates the ever changing nature of science.
I've never known there was a survey feature on this so before we get to why there is a picture of Toothless please fill out this quick survey
Okay, back on track. The reason I am bringing up How To Train Your Dragon is because of a cool little thing called flickclips. Flickclips are short movie clips that can be used to engage at the start of different lessons. This specific flickclip uses Hiccup and Toothless to demonstrate how we make observations and gather evidence to find answers to what questions us in science.
This post has been crazy wordy so I am not going to go into a big explanation of how many more engaging activities there are. You can go out and dress as Albert Einstein on the first day of school for your physics class. You could eat a fake burning candle. The possibilities are endless, so go out and engage!
Today we are going to be covering classroom simulations (ooooh, aaahh). Using technology and simulations in the classroom is a great way for us as teachers to really get students involved in more non-traditional ways. So without further adieu, lets get started
1) Minecraft education
_If you have never heard of Minecraft, then you have probably been living under a rock for the past few years. At its core Minecraft is a great game, but the creators of this game have gone out of their way to create educational tools for use in this simulation. Minecraft education can be used for many applications; architecture, coding, electricity & circuits, farming techniques and the list goes on. There are so many ways to use Minecraft in the classroom and you should really look into it.
Plate tectonics can be a tricky thing to demonstrate in school. Now, I am all for bringing in giant tubs of soil to demonstrate that, but there has got to be a simpler way to show students how to get these big plates to move; and in comes some people over in Colorado for the win. This simulation lets students simulate any plate tectonics interaction you could think of, from the formation of hotspots to new mountain ranges, this tool takes a topic that can be difficult for students to grasp and hits a great homerun. So if you are tired of carrying around truck loads of soil, this is the site for you
Who hasn't wondered what it would be like to zoom through deep space on your very own starship. Unfortunately this is not guardians of the galaxy.
Well this leaves us with the only other option. Google Sky. This sim tool allows students to get a look at many places in the galaxy in their very own galactic Google Earth. The applications for this in the classroom are wonderful for engaging students to explore space in something besides stationary pictures. Everyone learns differently and this will cover much more than a simple textbook ever could.
4) Molecular Workbench
Now this last simulation is not a single simulation. Instead Molecular Workbench is an insanely amazing simulation tool that includes thousands of simulations that any teacher can use. There are simulations that take you inside the cell to see how organelles work up close. You can choose compounds and see how each atom individually bonds to the other; and the list goes on and on from science to non-science. This is a tool that every teacher should know about because it will be applicable no matter what subject you want to teach!
Now go out and make your classroom a more engaging environment for student learning with the use of some great simulations. As always follow me on twitter @mrihrig00 and my linked in account
Recently I had the great experience to read the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. The book is all about finding your strengths using the book and helpful website (code required).
Now I am sure you are wondering what that book has to do with the title of this post...and the joyous picture of Ted Mosby ("How I Met Your Mother"). Well if you have watched the show you will recall the "Woo Girl" episode. Now long long long long long story short, woo girls go "woo", loud and very often. They are outgoing women who shout "woo" at bars. While this really has nothing much to do with what WOO means in strength finder, the connection makes me happy, so you can deal with it.
In Rath's Strenghts Finder 2.0 my main strength was WOO, which stands for winning over others. People who have WOO as their main strength strive to get to know things about everyone they meet and meet as many people as possible. This fits really well with me as I love to get to know random people when I am out and about. For me, there is something about getting to know people and their interests and form friendships and bonds through that.
Well riddle me this Batman, how are you going to use a skill suited for talking with random people in the streets to create something positive in the classroom. Well good news! WOO is a great skill for an educator, it allows us to get to know every single one of our students and then form specific plans to help the needs of everyone. Now I know there are some negatives to that too, you cant be outgoing and get to know people and then have no tools in which to build off of that knowledge. Well it is funny that you say that because another one of my top 5 strengths, was empathy. To put it short and simple, empathy makes me a good listener, and in tune to what I can do to help people that I get to know. Wow looks like I am just the best bundle of communication and listening, and you can find out your strengths too by going to the link I posted earlier and buying yourself a book. Also if you are looking for more by Rath, a great followup book of his is posted in the link below.
And as always follow me on twitter @mrihrig00 and here is a link to my linkedin
Wahoo! I know it's been such a long time but thank you my amazing readers...or classmates... who keep coming back and checking to see when I would be posting again. Well today is your lucky day because I'm back!
Today We are going to talk about a really great article I read in the January issue of The Science Teacher called "Don't Short Circuit Stem Instruction" by Crystal Bruxvoort and James Jadrich, and its all about making the light bulbs go off.
So, I have to pay for these articles so I don't really know all the rules on articles I can really show everything when I don't own the rights. But because they use an experiment that many of us have done before I am going to talk about that experiment and then some insights on how this ties into STEM.
Students are sorted into small groups and given two wires, a light bulb, and a battery. They are then told to try to light the light bulb. What is interesting about this is that even most students who have a good idea of how electricity works will have some trial and error before finding a working solution.
Helpful hint: Have students draw both successful and unsuccessful attempts on a piece of paper to help with classroom discussion after the experiment.
Now after students have been able to tinker with the configuration most should have gotten the light bulb to light in some way or another. Here is where the meaningful conversation starts.
In leading a classroom discussion and asking questions such as "How" and "Why did you think the light bulb would light in doing so?" you will start to see how most if not all of the students simply experimented with different configurations until the light bulb light. This is where students can be shown how part of the nature of scientific and engineering findings have been found through trial and error.
After this where you take the lesson is up to you, even if you aren't teaching a lesson on electricity this is a great way to enter into the wonderful world of scientific discovery with your students. This experiment is an awesome way to continue to foster creativity in students through STEM methods.
If you look in my "About" section you will see a little bit about my green anole Groot. He's pretty cool, a picky eater who doesn't like me too much but hey you can't win them all over. Someone you haven't heard about is one of my other pets. Kojak, my ball python. Kojak is around 9 years old and is a big lazy snake who actually likes me (he's only bitten me once and that was my fault). I have taken him into multiple classrooms throughout my education history and it has always been a great experience. My classmates have seen him eat live mice, as well as gotten to see how snakes aren't some evil slimy creatures.
I know I know, nobody cares about my personal life and my reptile friends. But what if I told you that as a teacher, having a classroom pet can benefit students in a plethora of ways!?
Because it can!!!
There is even a website about it with a very convenient name: petsintheclassroom.org
See told you the name was convenient
Pets can do amazing things in the classroom and this site talks about so many of them. Pets teach responsibility, build self esteem, encourage nurturing and can even become friends to students. On top of all of that pets in the classroom can also be used in tons of school lessons like observation skills, and long-term studies. Because of this, I will have pets in my classroom and I hope you have pets in your classroom too. Check the literature, its positive!
According to the New York Times 58% of all bachelor's, master's, and doctorates degrees in biology are awarded to women (which conveniently matches up with the infographic above). Now this is an impressive stat but when you look deeper it reveals a sad truth. Besides futures in medicine, biology is the least paid avenue of the core sciences.
Lets look further at the picture above. In today's economy the higher paid jobs are more on the left side with engineering and the math heavy sciences. Those are the sciences where woman are vastly underrepresented.
As teachers, what can we do to encourage our female students to explore the more math based sciences? According to Dr. Huebner in a paper written for the ASCD, teachers need to implement teaching strategies that promote a high-mastery classroom with specific teacher feedback. This along with creating an open environment for all students to not become discouraged from the math intensive sciences can start to even out the gender gap that we see above.
Hey look a field! While this seems like a very pretty field, it is not the field of todays discussion. For the last few weeks I have been placed into a middle school for "field" placement. While I prefer working with high-school aged students, it is a nice change of pace working with the younger group.
The teacher that I am observing does a very good job at implementing some MTV strategies. MTV stands for making thinking visible and it gives students the chance to examine the way that they think about information being presented to them. My placement teacher implements a strategy called "What makes you say that?". This really makes students examine their answers to questions and why they think that way. This ties very nicely into the concepts of constructivism which you can read about in one of my prior posts.
So far my placement has been wonderful and I hope to continue learning from what the students have to offer as well as teach some lessons of my own.