Science, Education, and Science Education

classroom applications

Archive for the ‘Inquiry’ Category

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


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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October 15th, 2012 by Luann

The Learning Brain

Dr Chris Jernstedt from Dartmouth on Learning and the Brain synthesized something that I’ve been trying to apply for a while, now.  He breaks the goals of learning down into four areas:  knowing (facts), applying (classroom learning to life situations), recognizing (what classroom things are related to a given “life” situation), and extrapolating.  If all this student does is sit in class and “soak it in,” I think he/she will have tremendous difficulty doing anything but knowing (if that). Yet, it seems most students seldom progress past the “knowing” stage.

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May 24th, 2012 by Luann

Scavenging For Science

Many years ago, I needed something engaging for AP Chemistry students once their exam was over.  I found a scavenger hunt, hard copy as this was the olden days, handed out by the late Dr. Cliff Schrader at a conference.  I’m forever grateful to Cliff for so many things he gave out freely to anyone who asked.  Among so many other things, he taught me to share.

I reworked the list a little to reflect some things my students knew or in which they had shown interest.  The first few years, the kids worked in groups and competed to see which group could collect the most items the most quickly.

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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.

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December 17th, 2011 by Luann

Crystallization of a Supersaturated Sucrose Solution

Research: Solutions

Recipe:  Supersaturated Sucrose Solution

Response: Documenting the Process


October 10th, 2011 by Luann

Writing and the Lab Report

Oregon requires students to complete an inquiry work sample (here’s the one we will use this year) at some time during high school.  Our classes function on an inquiry basis at some level almost daily.  I’ve played with many strategies to help students write about their work in a manner that facilitates their learning while documenting their work in a manner that survives the scrutiny of a scientific peer review.

Most recently, I’ve incorporated the work began with Linda Christensen (from Lewis and Clark) and the Oregon Writing Project. Freshmen begin keeping all lab and inquiry work in a bound theme book, AKA fondly as “my lab book.” My vision for the appearance of student lab books has morphed over the years.  Some things change very little, though, because good science is good science and good science writing is good science writing. At my current school, I’m blessed with like-minded colleagues who have helped me refine my vision as it is shared in this post. Here’s our current plan…..

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October 8th, 2011 by Luann

Scientific Habits of Mind ?

This past week, the high school and middle school science teachers came together for collaboration.  Apparently, collaboration hasn’t happened in a while in this district.  The high school teachers to whom I’ve spoken were pleased with the work we accomplished together.  During our conversation, we decided to compile a list of skills and tools we want to foster in our students (How will come next.)  Below is a whiteboard image summarizing our thoughts.

Direct from the whiteboard, courtesy of our principal


It’s clear that we were brainstorming.  Our ideas jumped from broad, general skills such as “predicting” and “graphing” to general big ideas such as structure/function and patterns.

We have some questions.

What’s missing?  What doesn’t belong?  What needs to be rearranged?

April 3rd, 2011 by Luann

Under One Big Sky: Finished.

The journey is over.

47,556 words, 200 pages. Defended.  Paperwork filed.

Crashed with my sons, daughter-in-law, and grandsons.  Called husband.

I’m now Dr. Mom, Dr. Gramma, and Dr. Dear.

And sitting in the airport waiting for a flight back home, I feel a bit lost and empty.

Maybe I’ll have something to say about it later.  Maybe not.

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