Category Archives: science

(Article) How Science Museums Are Supporting Science Education

Below is a recent article from The Hechinger Report titled As Science Denial Grows, Science Museums Fight Back by Teaching Scientific Literacy. The Hechinger Report article discusses how science museums are responding to the growing problem of science denial by focusing on promoting scientific literacy. The article highlights several initiatives taken by science museums to combat misinformation and educate the public about the importance of scientific evidence. These initiatives include providing interactive exhibits, organizing public lectures, collaborating with scientists, and incorporating critical thinking skills into educational programs. By emphasizing scientific literacy, science museums aim to foster a better understanding of scientific concepts and encourage evidence-based thinking among visitors. It’s an interesting and short read.


Healthy Habitats: Climate Change Action for K-2 by Climate Generation

Healthy Habitats: Climate Change Action for K-2 is a primary climate change education resource designed to help elementary educators teach about climate change and its impacts on local habitats. This resource is part of the resource library at the Climate Generation site. The resource consists of three lessons that build off of one another and are designed to be taught sequentially. The lessons aim to develop students’ socio-emotional learning skills, empathy for living beings, and understanding of climate justice issues on local, national, and global scales. The resource was developed by Climate Generation in collaboration with three elementary educators from different parts of the US. The lessons encourage students to explore their local schoolyard habitat, reflect on how climate change may be impacting it, and work together to plan and implement an action that helps reduce local climate impacts and cultivate climate resiliency at their school.

Overall, Healthy Habitats looks like a valuable resource for elementary educators looking to teach about climate change in a way that is engaging, accessible, and relevant to their young students’ lives. The lessons are nicely designed with embedded links to videos and other resources along with supportive student handouts.

Note: you will have to go through a “check out” process to access the mini-unit but the materials are free. A donation is appreciated I’m sure. Check it out.

Science Education in an Age of Misinformation

Stanford University recently released a report titled Science Education in the Age of Misinformation. The report makes the case for why misinformation is a problem and how scientists and science educators might address the problem. The report provides some clear recommendations and also some compelling examples.

You can access the full report as a pdf HERE. You can also visit the accompanying website HERE.

WA STATE: FREE K-5 OSPI Science At-Home Workshop

OSPI is providing a FREE workshop on the K-5 Science Essential Question Units and Resources. This workshop will provide an overview of the existing science resources that are aligned to NGSS and are modified to support students and teachers in science learning during distance learning. You also get 1.5 to 6 STEM clock hours depending on whether you want to engage students in some of the learning experiences you will experience. Sounds like a great way to learn about some free aligned science resources and get some free STEM clock hours too. Hope to see lots of you on the Zoom on Jan. 12th.

When: Tuesday, January 12th from 4-5:30pm (other asynchronous hours optional)

Where: Zoom workshop

How: Register on PD Enroller HERE

You can preview the elementary science resources below:

My Top 10 Science Videos of 2020

It is challenging to determine the Top Videos in any category because there is just so much great content in every genre online. Having said that- here are my personal Top 10 Science Videos of 2020. There are examples here of several different content creators and entities along with a variety of kinds of science videos. There are explanatory videos, music videos, short videos, long videos, important videos, and just cool science videos. Let me know in the comments of any other science videos from 2020 that you would nominate. Enjoy!

Veritasium: These are the asteroids to worry about

Science with Tom: CRISPR (“7 Rings” Parody) – Science Rap Academy

SciShow-Bugs Aren’t Brainless! | Great Minds: Charles Henry Turner

minutephysics: Why Masks Work Better Than You’d Think

ASAP Science: What the COVID vaccine Does to Your Body

Mark Rober: World’s Largest Devil’s Toothpaste Explosion

NOVA PBS: Can We Cool the Planet?

Real Science: The Insane Biology of The Octopus

UW: Worn Tires Contribute to Chemical that Kills Coho Salmon

NOVA PBS: Signs of Life Found on Venus

Seeing Students Learn Science: Integrating Assessment and Instruction in the Classroom

seeing students learn scienceOVERVIEW: Seeing Students Learn Science is a new FREE document from The National Academies Press. This publication in meant to help us improve our understanding of how students actually learn science and to provide guidance as we modify and adapt our instruction and assessment practices.

The document contains 6 sections:

  1. Front Matter
  2. What’s Really Different?
  3. What Does This Kind of Assessment Look Like?
  4. What Can I Learn from My Students’ Work?
  5. Building New Kinds of Assessments into the Flow of Your Instruction
  6. You and Your School, District, and State

You can read the document FREE in your browser or download the pdf. Enjoy!

PURPOSE: Provide support to educational systems as we continue to implement the vision of A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards

AUDIENCE: Teachers, administrators, PD providers, assessment developers, etc



The Case for Early Education about STEM Careers

The Case for Early Education about STEM Careers (10 Science Facts & Fictions) was shared with me today at a meeting. This short document summarizes some interesting research on our knowledge and beliefs about scientists and science careers. This could be a useful piece for advocating for elementary science instruction or for use in science education professional development. Enjoy!

Recommendations on the Next Generation Science Standards

The feedback window for the Next Generation Science Standards is closed but I think it is important for us to keep the conversation going about how to make the final draft the best set of science standards possible.

Two recent set of recommendations from national groups were just released and I suggest we all take a look:

  • The National Science Teachers Association has released their recommendations. (Click HERE) I tend to agree with most of their thoughts, however, I’m growing a bit weary of their platform on the nature of science. Don’t get me wrong- I have nothing against the nature of science but I don’t see how the addition of content on the nature of science will bring clarity to what is already a pretty dense document packed with layers of complexity.
  • AAAS also released a set of recommendations. (Click HERE) I agree wholeheartedly with their call for “less”. Check out the following quote:

Thus, before finalizing the new standards, we urge Achieve to quickly convene small groups of the nation’s best teachers at the primary, middle-school, and high-school levels. Although teachers have been involved in the writing effort, their new charge should be to bring ground truth to the NGSS by determining the maximum number of disciplinary core ideas that can be covered in a single school year.

In the last 3 weeks I have had opportunities to present the draft NGSS to multiple K-8 teachers in several districts in my region. Here are some of their questions and thoughts many of which align with the NSTA and AAAS recommedations:

  • Who is the audience for this document? It doesn’t seem to be for K-5 teachers. Not teacher friendly.
  • Do the performance expectations have to be one sentence? It feels like some of them could be broken down into smaller parts.
  • Even though it looks like a small number of standards per grade (K-5) when you start to unpack each performance expectation there is obviously a lot of instructional time that will need to be dedicated to each.
  • There seems to be way too much content despite the purported goal of decreasing the traditional broad content coverage in science.
  • How will these standards help to create interest, advocacy, and efficacy around effective science instruction in an elementary system that already lacks most of these qualities? In other words, if a teacher or building principal is not a champion of elementary science and already feels overwhelmed by Common Core, teacher/principal evaluation, AYP, etc.. How is this multicolored barrage of science information going to help them take a step toward saying, “Yes, we can do this! Now I see how science is important for all elementary students.”

I’m confident that Achieve, the lead states,  and the writing team will continue to work hard to make the NGSS the best set of science standards possible. I also hope they are willing to take some extra time, if necessary, to get it right.

The Spangler Effect

The Spangler Effect is a new online show from frequent Ellen DeGeneres guest, Steve Spangler. On The Spangler Effect, Steve digs into a science experiment or demonstation by conducting a demonstration and explaining what caused the event. The clips are typically in the 15 minute range and include a scientific explanation of the observed phenomena.

As a teacher, I could imagine using a given video after students have had a chance to observe and explain a similar scientific event. The video could provide a new situation for applying a scientific idea or for checking an explanation. I have to admit that I wish the videos withheld the explanation a bit longer so that the observer could consider a personal explanation before hearing from the expert.

Embedded below is an example- Ultimate Can Crusher

Success at the Core: Resources for Science Instruction

Success at the Core is an excellent and well-designed site that provides an online professional development toolkit focused on effective instruction. (Click HERE to see how effective instruction is defined in 4 elements.)Tools are designed for collaborative teams and are organized to support facilitators and participants. The site is not content specific, however there are several resources that are set in a science context. (You will need to sign up for a FREE account in order to access all content- it’s easy.. and worth it!)

Click HERE to see a list of videos of middle school science instruction. Each video focuses on a strategy and includes teacher commentary, instruction plans, and student work.

Click HERE to see a video of science teacher Al Gonzalez teaching his eighth grade science class how to make, test, and reflect on predictions in a physical science lab. Good stuff!

Click HERE to see  Steven English engage this  eighth grade science class as they refine their understanding of scientific concepts through small group and whole class discussions.