Science, Education, and Science Education

classroom applications
March 11th, 2012 by Luann

Adoption, 2012 style

I’ve worked in 5 districts in 23 years.  Our current adoption will be my 4th experience. The availability of electronic delivery and open source materials have added interesting options to our decision-making. First, I present lists and links to content, including sources for inquiry and engineering design resources. I’ve saved my thoughts on devices until the end.

Please comment including any other resources you’d consider if you were us.  Also, please comment on individual resources if you have experience or thoughts that might help us make a decision.  This list does not include all of the traditional hard-copy textbooks and support materials we’ve been sent.  I don’t want this post to take a year to read.

Resources under consideration:

Here is a list of open source and free content and curriculum for consideration.  Each source meets related Oregon State Science Standards and so far as I can see, meshes well with the Next Generation Framework. No one source, open source of paid textbook, will meet all standards. This is not a review, only an annotated list of links for my colleagues to explore.  The list and commentary will change over the next several weeks as we consider options.

Science, math, and engineering:

  • CK12 Flexbooks – Free, open-source content.  Updated frequently;  the content won’t get old. Customizable. I accessed it from my iPhone and iPad. PDFs can be customized, downloaded to any computer, stored on removable media, or even printed for students who don’t have electronics. Many choices of chapters and editions for Biology, Earth Science, Anatomy, several options for Chemistry, two options including videos for Physics, Engineering, and (I love this) Nanotechnology.TE and SE; workbooks available for most.Contain videos from KA. Enough said. According to my contact at CK12, the videos can be stripped.


  • National Institute of Health: Nstional Institute of General Medical Sciences distributes classroom sets of materials to teachers. Three that meet standards are The Structures of LifeInside the Cell , and The New Genetics.
  • Northwest Association for Biomedical Research – Curricula for genetics research, bioinformatics, stem cell research, bioethics, consumer awareness.
  • Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes – Research-based materials produced and reviewed by scientists; tested and modified by teachers. Engaging for students.
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute – each December, a group of Howard Hughes fellows deliver lectures to an audience of high school students.  Lectures are 20-minute segments with Q&H between the students and the scientists.  Humorous and engaging.
  • Experimental Biology by Catalyst Curricula offers excellent units for Biology and Anatomy. Not free, but affordable.
  • POGIL – the high school Chemistry and Biology resources are now available. I have copies of each. Not free, but affordable.


  • many AP chemistry sources will be implemented in Chemistry as well.
  • CK12 Flexbooks – see above.
  • World of Chemistry Videos – Applications of concepts in chemistry (also biochemistry and biology) to real-world situations.  Much engineering design throughout.
  • Merlot (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) Animations, inter actives, courses, textbooks, and all you’d want to go with them.


Marine Biology


Human Anatomy and Physiology

AP Chemistry

And lastly, how to make your own textbook, without Apple.

Added 3-14-2012:
How did I just now find this gold mine of open-source texts?

Added 3-17-2012
Teaching Physics without a Textbook: What David Andrade uses instead.

Added 3-26-12
How to add a microscope to your iPad

My thoughts on devices:

Devices are simply one means for students to access content.  Any content that has only one delivery option opposes my standards for equity of access.  My preference for student devices is that they facilitate:

  • easy access to open source materials and content from the web
  • collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data
  • student creation of content using text, photos, audio and video recording, and art.
  • sharing of student-created content

What would you add?

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