Science Content

Creating scientists: One child at a time

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Science Expert: Cart Wieman

He was a recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics in 2001 and the Carnegie Foundations U.S. University Professor of the Year in 2004. He directs the Carl Wieman Science Education Institute. He researches how to teach students to think like scientists and strives to revolutionize science education.


Some of his publications include:



  • His article: A Scientific Approach to Science Education- Beliefs, Guided Thinking, and Technology (2009).
  • Collected Papers of Carl Wieman (2008).

Teacher Interview

Rhonda - 6th grade Science - McGregor ISD - McGregor Middle School

  1. What do you believe to be your greatest strengths in helping students that are not where they need to be academically in Science?

I find out where each student is individually and start from there. If they are missing fundamentals of science, I'll start there. Science content builds on previous years of learning; therefore, I have to meet the students at the level they are at and I feel I am strong in doing so.


2. Did you have any influences growing up or in college that led you to become a Science teacher?

I grew up playing and exploring outside and developed a love for nature very early. Nature has always appealed to me and I am a nurturer as well. My love of nature and my desire to explore and nurture influenced my decision to teach Science.


3. What are some of your favorite resources to use in class? Are they provided by the school or did you discover them on your own?

I like to use real world items and homemade things. I provide most of the resources that I use in class. I want the students to be experimenting with real things and tools that they are going to use in the real world. By showing them the purpose they serve and how to use them, they are much more intrigued to learn about them and use them.


4. If you could change one thing about the Science curriculum/content, that you feel would reach the students better, what would it be and why?

If I could change one thing about the content, I would simplify the language and make their learning less abstract. These students are moving past the concrete stage, but they aren't complete abstract thinkers just yet. And some are further behind than others. I think we need to slow the pace down a little and allow the students to become more developed thinkers through exploration.


5. What strategies do you use to assist ESL students and struggling readers?

I use the sheltered language approach for ESL students, but it is also beneficial for struggling readers. I help simplify the text in order for them to better understand what they are reading. We also highlight key words and phrases in order to focus their attention on specific words and concepts, opposed to every detail of the text.

Video: Applying STEM: The Brain Safety Challenge- Grades 6-8

I thought this was a great hands on science experiment that was implemented well and was very engaging for the students. Below are a list of strategies I saw and the things I thought made this a great lesson:


  • This challenge required students to work as team to come up with a solution to the challenge (which was designing a football helmet to prevent brain injury for players)
  • They followed an engineering model, but the teacher had provided steps that were appropriate for their age level
  • It was relevant to the real world- they were becoming engineers
  • There was great communication within the groups where the students were using the academic language from their study of the brain - I noticed different accents from the students and I think the communication was great for ESL students
  • STEM lesson provided critical thinking, problem solving, and creative thinking. The students tested their models, examined the results, and then discussed what happened and the changes that were necessary if their design wasn't successful.
  • It provided the opportunity to make mistakes and taught the students that things don't always work the first time and that's okay
  • It was very engaging and the students were truly involved. They were using the academic language (temporal part, frontal lobe, etc.)
  • The teacher mentioned she did not have any behavioral issues because the students were so involved and engaged in the activity
  • It taught the students the value of teamwork and showed them that some benefit more from working in groups
  • Students were actually interested in becoming brain surgeons one day. I thought that was awesome!

Website: The Science Diva

Blog: Ms. Naccio- 4th and 5th Grade Science

I found this to be a great resource for Science teachers because it is well organized and has SO many great features and ideas. If I were a science teacher I would be going crazy over this website. Here are some of the great features I think would benefit science teachers:



  • Junior Scientist idea- for each tested topic she chooses one student (different each time) to take home a bag with goggles, gloves, lab notebook, a suggested experiment, and all necessary materials. They have 5-6 days to complete the experiment and then will present it to the class. It is a great way to involve families at home
  • She has a Teachers pay Teachers store with great resources available already ready to use
  • Interactive notebook ideas - She relates it to left brain/right brain. The left side (left brain) is for the teacher and the right side (right brain) is the students side
  • Science Fair section- provides ideas for organizing a science fair and ideas
  • Scientific method
  • Center ideas
  • Printables
  • Science Safety information
  • Team building ideas
  • Tool box- a place to keep supplies
  • She has a list of other blogs she follows that have more great ideas and resources



These are only a few of the things I found that made this a great resource, but these alone could benefit teachers in various grade levels.

References

Science 2.0. Join the Revolution. Carl Wieman. Retrieved from:

http://www.science20.com/profile/cwieman


Wieman, Carl (2009). A Scientific Approach to Science Education- Beliefs, Guided Thinking, and Technology. Retrieved from:

http://www.science20.com/carl_wieman/scientific_approach_science_education_beliefs_guided_thinking_and_technology


Wieman, Carl (2008). Collected Papers of Carl Wieman. World Scientific Publishing Company. 1st Ed.


Applying STEM: The Brain Safety Challenge. Grades 6-8. Science. Retrieved from:

https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/applying-stem-middle-school


The Science Diva. Retrieved from:

http://www.thesciencediva.blogspot.com/2013/11/lovehate-battle-with-lesson-plans.html