Category Archives: biology

Phenomena & Units for Environmental Justice

There is still room at this impactful upcoming event in the South Puget Sound Region. See below for description and registration link.

The Bethel School District and the Puyallup Watershed Initiative are partnering to offer this 2-day workshop on Phenomena & Units for Environmental Justice.

Title: Phenomena & Units for Environmental Justice.

Location: Graham-Kapowsin High School

Dates: June 25 & Aug. 22 , 2018 (8:00 – 3:30)

Presenters: Lia Wetzstein, Emily Pinckney, Tom Hathorn

Why:

●  Inspire students with local phenomena and problems that matter to their community.

●  Support student aspirations toward STEM-related careers.

●  Integrate NGSS PEs about humans in relation to the environment (LS2, LS4, ESS2, ESS3).

Who:

●  MS & HS Science Teachers (all subjects), Administrators

●  School Districts in the South Sound LASER Alliance

What: Day 1

●  Meet & study local environmental justice issues → Analyze the systems & who’s affected.

●  Unpack natural & human structures → How did things get this way? What keeps it stable?

●  Use the NGSS engineering cycle (D-D-O) → Solving environmental problems = engineering .

●  Discover & use local STEM issues → Use students’ interests & cultural-community practices.

●  Begin planning → Activities or small units that utilize local phenomena or problems.

What: Day 2

●  Share emerging units → Give & get ideas.

●  NSTA resources for teaching controversial topics → See opportunities & pitfalls.

●  Use students’ voices → Guide the dialogue & discussions.

Registration: https://pwidei-ej4ngss.eventbrite.com

Disruptions in Ecosystems Middle School NGSS Unit

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 1.45.15 PMOVERVIEW: We are at an exciting spot in the implementation of NGSS where we are seeing some high-quality three dimensional instructional materials being released. The American Museum of Natural History (and other partners) has developed a unit titled Disruptions in Ecosystems that provides five chapters to immerse students into understanding life science and human activity MS performance expectations in NGSS. Each chapter provides a phenomenon for students to investigate.

PURPOSE: This unit obviously has potential as being helpful for any middle school science teacher/system that is looking for a well-designed NGSS ecosystems unit. However, this unit also provides a model for what good NGSS instructional materials might look like.

AUDIENCE: middle school teachers, science PD providers, curriculum directors, curriculum writers, etc

LINK: Here is the link on the NGSS site where you can get Disruptions in Ecosystems as a zip file and also see how this unit rated on the EQuIP Rubric.

https://www.nextgenscience.org/resources/middle-school-disruptions-ecosystems

Here is a video on Teaching Channel where you can see students engaging in constructing arguments using this unit.

https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/argument-tool-ngss

 

A Capella Science: Evo-Devo Video

I haven’t posted a fun science video in awhile- so here you go! Enjoy and check out the other videos from A Capella Science.

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome: An Authentic Problem for Students

KCTS 9 in Seattle has an excellent overview of the sea star wasting syndrome that is currently destroying the sea star populations on the west coast of the United States. While the content is sad and disturbing, this case provides a very real and engaging problem for K-12 students to wrestle with.

The KCTS 9 post provides:

– A rich piece of complex informational text for students to read and understand. (Would be perfect for a close reading Common Core ELA lesson).

– Two short video clips that supplement the text and tell the story of the problem and how scientists are zooming in on the cause of the wasting syndrome.

How We Might Use This as Teachers:

  • Connect to science and engineering practices in NGSS
  • Highlight how scientists use evidence to construct claims
  • Draw attention to how authentic science and engineering works vs “The Scientific Method”
  • Highlight the connections between field studies and controlled experiments (How do both ways of “doing science” inform the work?)
  • Create an SBAC-like performance task with a piece of informational text, video, and a writing prompt
  • Engage students in Problem (or project) Based Learning where they learn about the ocean ecosystem and how to solve this (and related) problems

How might you use this information in your classroom?

Click HERE for the entire post.

EarthEcho: Environmental Education Resources

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 2.32.36 PMEarthEcho is an international non-profit environmental education organization led by Philippe Cousteau Jr. The EarthEcho website is a hub for short video clips and educational resources. Check out one of the EarthEcho video clips embedded below- What Happens When We Flush? The site has resources for educators which can be accessed with a free online registration.

Does Being Cold Make You Sick?

Asapscience just posted a new video titled- Does Being Cold Make You Sick?
This could be a good video for having students engage in argumentation based on the evidence presented.
See the embedded video below.

Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Concussions?

Here is an interesting blog post Using Football Science to Tackle STEM Education by Ainissa Ramirez that incorporates football and science. Seems like a good opportunity for students to engage in science and engineering practices (Asking Questions and Engaging in Argument come to mind)  while also learning about forces and living systems. Check out the video embedded below.