Science, Education, and Science Education

classroom applications
January 1st, 2014 by Luann

A book: 20 Day Blogging Challenge, Day 1

I can’t choose  just one favorite book.  I decided to share 2 books, one for each major content area I currently teach. while I don’t have a unique way of using either book in class, I can say that these books are clear student favorites.  Students tell me they’re interesting and informative and help with understanding of important topics.  We use each book differently.

The Disappearing Spoon

The Disappearing Spoon

Chemistry students devour Sam Kean’s The Disappearing Spoon, and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table.   So often, we forget that the “old dead guys” had lives, loves, families.  We forget the historical context of their work – the politics, social norms,   It  is assigned to incoming Advanced Placement Chemistry students as summer reading. Students report the book helps them make friends with elements; to use element names and properties in everyday thinking, and to build a framework for the descriptive chemistry we do throughout the course.  There is great appeal for kids who think of themselves more as historians than scientists. There are several study guides available for use with the book.

 

Blueprints

Blueprints for Evolution

 Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution presents the history of our understanding of biological evolution;  If you’re a biologist, you know Thomas Dobzhansky (“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”)  If you’re not a biologist and think you understand the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory, you owe it to yourself and your inner educator self’s commitment to lifelong learning to read this book.  Helping students understand how natural selection drives biological evolution can be challenging.  I choose to let Maitland Edey and Donald Johanson help.  Donald Johanson was one of the paleoanthropologists who discovered Lucy.  Maitland Edey is a journalist who brings together all the lines of evidence explained by biological evolution in a way that a non-scientist can enjoy and understand. This book unpeels the layers of understanding needed to employ scientific thinking in the understanding of the natural world.  When working with students as young as 9th grade,  the opening chapters that describe pre-Darwin thoughts on change and fixity in geology and in living things. help us  We read later chapters together as we construct our model of the Modern Synthesis. Just read it.  

What are your favorite books?  Why are they your favorites?  How do you use them with students?

 

December 15th, 2013 by Luann

Using Teacher Leadership to Facilitate Change

Last week, our superintendent announced her decision to modify the model under which our high school has operated for the past several years. We run as 4 small schools, courtesy of a Gates grant and other funding. Each small school has a principal, counselor, and central office staff.  We will continue in 4 small schools as student/parent/staff surveys, dropout rates, and other sources support the model. We will lose our 4-principal structure. Instead, we will have one decision-making principal, and three assistant principals. The likely structure will show one head principal, two assistant principals in charge of 2 small schools each, and one assistant principal will be charge of learning and professional development. Who will do each job?

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December 12th, 2013 by Luann

Candy 2013: A First Adventure into PBL

For years, my chemistry classes have made candy right before winter break. In years past, we spent a day investigating solutions, then I handed out a recipe and we made the candy. This year, with the blessings of  grant from NBPTS to investigate project based learning, I began to learn how to integrate content into a project. I’m working on using more true PBL instead of simply asking students to do projects. In addition to the integration of academic content into making candy, students blogged about their learning and their work. Some students worked in Evernote and when they finished, posted their work using postach.io.  Postach.io is now a paid app, and the features available for free may change before we use it again. Commenting must be done through Disqus, yet another sign-up and sign-in, so most students opted not to use it. I’m not going to lie – getting kids set up on Blogger through their school Google apps accounts was a challenge, and I’m on the hunt for something better. Next year, I will consider WordPress unless I find something better in the meantime.

Sophia C. http://itissciencetime.postach.io/
James http://chemistrywithjames.blogspot.com/
Shawna D. http://moomoo.postach.io/
Marcus D. http://marcusdu4candylab.blogspot.com/
Hap F. http://hapgoeshard.blogspot.com/
Makayla G. http://makaylaschemistryblog.blogspot.com
Robert H. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s341/sh/547a9e1c-cc74-4235-9cee-528b2b656339/a5ee32d0960810f3f83437be0609a5ba
Kearsten H. http://kearstenschemistryblog.blogspot.com/
Isabel K. http://isabelnkelly.blogspot.com/
Tallan K. http://chemistrywithtallan.blogspot.com/
Victor L. http://chemistrywithvictorlopez.blogspot.com/
Alex P-C. http://alexshardtackcandy.postach.io/
Charlette Q. http://charletteschemistryblog.blogspot.com/
Annika R. http://annikaschemistry.blogspot.com/
Devin R. http://chemhardcandy.blogspot.com/
Joscelynne S. chemistry-js.postach.io
Emily T. http://emilytry.blogspot.com/
Sierra Y. http://nhschemistry13.blogspot.com
Ryanne B. http://ryannebates.postach.io/
Jacob B. http://chemistrycandylab.blogspot.com/
Bronwyn B. http://brblac16.postach.io/
Donovan B. http://moistbread.postach.io/
Grace B. http://graceschemblog.blogspot.com/
http///gracestiedye.blogspot.com/
Calliope B. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s346/sh/588447c7-bd93-466b-bdff-8fc4c6dedf00/fb963107387a99e0a5a86b4171c4a362
Dylan C. stratusscience.blogspot.com
Micheal E. http://randomchemistrynhs.blogspot.com/
Klarissa E. http://kkkhem.blogspot.com/
Marcus G http://marcuschemblog.postach.io/
Alexis G. http://lexischemistryblog.blogspot.com
Luke H. lukechem.postach.io
Cuyler H. http://cuylerschemlab.blogspot.com/
Morgan J. morganschemistryblog.blogspot.com
Jade L. http://jadechemistry.blogspot.com
Kyle L. http://kylelutze.blogspot.com
Jason M. http://dragon-slayerr-dnd.postach.io/
Andrew M. https://www.evernote.com/pub/anmend14/anmend14snotebook
Ivette M. ivetteschemistrypage.postach.io
Camile R. http://camillechemistry.postach.io/
Alisha S. http://alishascandymaking.blogspot.com/
Jessica S. http://semageonchemistry.postach.io/
Benjamin U. http://bjulloa16.postach.io/
Matthew W. schoolchemnotes.blogspot.com/
Maria E. http://mariaeliaschemistry.blogspot.com/
Devon E. http://devonschemistry.blogspot.com/
Lindsay G. http://lindsaychem.blogspot.com/
Gage H. http://gagehannan.postach.io/
Sandra V-J. http://sandrascandylab4.blogspot.com
Robert M. http://dfbkjdfbkjf.blogspot.com/
Sasha P. http://sashaperezchemistry.blogspot.com/
Shane R. http://shanereedchemistry.blogspot.com/
Martha G. martmartmartha.blogspot.com
Luis S. http://luischemistrycandylab.blogspot.com/
Makenna S. http://makennasmithchemistry.blogspot.com/
Chantel S. http://chantelsorensen97.blogspot.com/
Esmerelda T-C. http://esmecheme.blogspot.com/
Madison Z. http://madichemi1314.postach.io/
Jessica M. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s322/sh/bbf8ecff-53ec-44dc-b679-1be325346acf/75be78c872db9f2029d6a67c45c48eee
Haley W. http://haleywidmechemistry.blogspot.com/
Brad A. http://chemistrycandymaking.blogspot.com/
Kayla B. http://kaylascience.postach.io/
Skyler C. http://32cannon.blogspot.com/
Rachel C. http://rachelchemistrywork.postach.io/
McKenna C. http://chemistrymckenna.blogspot.com/
Kylee D. http://pafeen16chem.blogspot.com/
Ashyton F. http://chemistrycandymakingasfox16.blogspot.com/
Colin G. http://cogard16chem.blogspot.com/
Jessica J. http://jessiejetcandylab.blogspot.com/
Taylor L. http://chemistrytaylor.blogspot.com/
Rosa N. http://rosaloveschemi.blogspot.com/
Tori W. http://chemistrytori1998.blogspot.com/
Tyler P. http://tntpiller.blogspot.com/
Jose P. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s329/sh/14b389a6-0a11-4146-ba7c-da60b1814067/f88c88b69df8b43e156236b78273ed21
Chase P. http://chasesrenewedchemistry.blogspot.com/
Deanna R. http://deannarose98.postach.io/
Eduardo R. http://eddieschemistry.blogspot.com/
Owen S. http://owensaballer.blogspot.com/
Paige S. http://manarka16.blogspot.com/
Colin S. http://peanutbuttercandylab1.blogspot.com/
Kylie T. http://beautifulcandymaking.blogspot.com/
Keeghan V. http://tyedyekv.blogspot.com/
Joseph Watson!!! http://candychemyum.blogspot.com/
Eugene W. http://chem-blogger1234.blogspot.com/
June 23rd, 2013 by Luann

The Paper Mill Project 2013

This post might well be titled “Adventures in Project-Based Learning.”

Students Working with Sludge

Sludge

You have to start somewhere.

It was an experience in jumping in feet first, and fortunately, also an experience in collaborative problem-solving. Based on the student excitement level, the student-initiated collaboration, and the chemistry-rich discussions involved, it was also a very successful experience.

I’ve learned that students find a final project more relevant than just a final exam. I’ve used either or both together as a final assessment.  One favorite in the past has been the scavenger hunt. Most of my Chemistry kiddos had done the biology version last year, so I wanted to provide them with a different experience in Chemistry.

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June 17th, 2013 by Luann

National Board Certification and Renewal

For kicks today, I looked at my site stats.  I normally don’t bother checking, because I write here to document my thinking for myself, when I actually write anything. I looked at the search strings that brought people to my blog.  Here’s a sample of what I found:

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March 6th, 2013 by Luann

Student Guest Post: New Elemental Discoveries Strike A Chord with Chemists

This post is the college admissions essay written by an amazing current AP Chemistry student, Marissa Beam.

Periodic Table of Band

Periodic Table of Band

I’m pretty sure her other intellectual abilities would have assured not only her acceptance but the free ride she received. She shared this essay with me, and I loved it so much that I asked, and she granted, permission, for me to share it here.

Spectacular new advances have been made in the periodic table in the past couple of months. A grand total of 34 new elements have been discovered in the most unlikely of places: high school band rooms. A new alkali metal (Directorium, 119) and an alkaline earth metal (Band Geekium, 120) are the most prominent of the new discoveries followed by 32 others which form the Instruminide Series. Research is underway to determine the properties and habits of these elements, as well as why they had not been discovered before, and while there is still much to learn, what has been deciphered of these mysterious elemental additions is fascinating.

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February 18th, 2013 by Luann

Creativity and Science, Part 3

From Learning and the Brain Conference, Day 2, Friday.

Souls of Pe bring water for purification.

It’s pretty clear to me, perhaps because I’m looking for it, that however one views creativity, one has to know something to be creative in a productive sense. Rigorous content is part of most models of PBL and creativity models. I’m not sure this is obvious to everyone, though. I’ve always known that before kids can create productively, they have to know something. Granted, some world problems appear to be solvable on the surface by 6th graders playing with plastic cups and sand models of water purification systems, and 6th graders should play with these things. At some point, however, rigor and expectations need to stretch. How can this be done? Read the rest of this entry »

February 15th, 2013 by Luann

Creativity and Science, Part 2

Creativity?

I’m starting to form a more clear picture of how I see creativity as a part of science.

I don’t care if it’s considered to be right or wrong by brain scientists or by educators.  It’s my synthesis at this time in my learning. If you’d like to help me with it, please do.

I’m still having issues with those who are of the school that creativity must be done in collaboration.  I have the same issue with those who state that true creativity takes place in total solitude. Maybe this is because I’m a Libra.  Maybe it’s because each learner processes, synthesizes, and constructs knowledge in his own way.

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February 14th, 2013 by Luann

Creativity and Science, Part 1

I’m leaving tomorrow to attend Learning and the Brain’s Educating for Creative Minds conference.

I’ve been creative before.  Several of my quilts were chosen for an exhibit at an art museum

Brain

in Ohio. I’ve been creative in my classroom for years. It takes a great deal of creativity to keep teenagers engaged as they learn an abstract subject such as chemistry. I’ve created lessons, labs, projects, presentations, lab stations, grant proposals, graphics, models, rubrics, assessments, and a few bazillion things I’ve already forgotten about. Oh, and a dissertation, the production of which is fundamental to my question: What does it mean to be creative in science?

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January 19th, 2013 by Luann

National Board Certification Renewal: Evidence of Impact on Student Learning

In a previous post, I described a scenario in which an administrator clearly did not understand the impact on student learning a teacher must demonstrate to renew National Board Certification. If you’re wondering, too, read on.  And if you’re a renewal candidate, here are the files you’ve been looking for.

I’ve answered more than 100 emails this past week, asking for renewal help. As I write, there are almost 300 hits to this blog from searches for national board renewal help – just in the last month. As a result, I’ve decided to post a few items from the Renewal workshops I facilitate and a rationale for renewing.

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