I want to know why you find Science intimidating!

Students are always going to have a favorite subject or a classroom that they look forward to going into everyday.  When you are a teacher you have to learn to not take things personally and often your classroom will not be that safe haven for every single student. However I still want to know every single know of my students feelings about science and school in general. You cannot truly teach your students well until you understand them as a person. Because of this I explored using the google tool Google Forms. I created a survey that I would have my students take within the first couple days of a new school year.

I created a brief version of what I wanted, outlining the different topics I would want to cover. If they like science, if they think they are “good” at science, do they feel like they are a smart as they are ever going to be and what do they want to learn this year. These are the different topics that I would want to learn about from my students.

Understanding where your students frame of minds are when entering a science classroom can be key to running a successful classroom. If students are not interested in science I need to plan super engaging lesson initially to make sure to grab their attention. If students have specific requests about what they want to learn and I can incorporate them great! If I can’t maybe I can point them in the right direction to learn more about it. I need to know whether my students have growth mindset or whether that is something I need to incorporate into my teaching. These are all important elements that I can gain from a survey and Google Forms makes it even easier to manage!

 

Google Form

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Mk4sjrsnNmnHe5WP09vR9Q-bEFgGSvrw7JIMfBKe3gg/edit

 

 

Featured Image:

Attribution : US Coast Guard Academy

130305-007 Chemistry

Are you destined to be unhealthy?

I remember using Gapminder World in High School. I specifically remember using it sophomore year when (as a grade) we were participating in a model United Nations. It gave teams the opportunity to learn large amounts of information quickly about both their country and other countries. It was a great tool and I was excited to plan a lesson around it after last class.


Picture a science health class in a 1-1 school (which is where I dream to be eventually). The students have just finished a unit on different global diseases and this is their final project and assessment for the unit.  In groups of two, students will pick a disease that Gapminder World has data on. Once they pick the disease they want to learn more about for their project the objective is to determine what are major influencing factors for that disease. For example, if I picked Malaria then I would chose different factors such as GDP, Education, Poverty and observe their influence on Malaria. Once I have manipulated and analyzed the different graphs the students will chose 1-2 factors that they want to research more.

The students will research the disease itself if it was not covered during the unit within the class. Finding information such as: how you get it, symptoms, and is there a cure?  They will also research the affect and impact that the one-two different factors had on their disease. The students will get multiple days to accomplish this. At the end they will have created a poster, presentation, video or some method of representing their group research. In class there will be a gallery walk where students will set up their project and get to walk around the classroom and see everyone’s research.

Lesson Objectives:

Students will be able to manipulate and interpret data of a health disease to determine important factors.

Students will be able to research their disease and important factors after analyzing and interpreting the data.

Final Product:

A representation of the research on both the disease and its important factors. Could be a video, poster board, presentation, etc.


For an assignment such as this one I wanted to do a student led project. I wanted students to be invested in what they were researching so I let them chose their own disease. I also wanted to let students use their creativity and imagination in presenting their findings. Often assignments and projects in classes tend to be very scripted so I wanted a project with more freedom.

I also wanted the students to be able to play around with the program and learn how it worked along with the different methods it has for representing data!

There can never be too many labs….

1) Learning Objective

Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of cellular respiration through a tennis ball lab experiment through data analysis and graphing.

2) Digital Resources Used

The first part of the lesson would be the students on their devices at home watching a video that I created through EDpuzzle. The video would be an introduction and full overview of the process of cellular respiration, I would add checkmarks of questions that the students had to answer and they couldn’t skip ahead they have to watch all of the video. I most likely would not grade these questions but see it as a form of informal assessment for me to know where my students are at (it would all depend on where in the unit we are at). This would free up what would be classroom lecture time to insert a lab which I wish I could always do more of!

3) Active Learning Strategies

For me the best active learning strategies are getting students involved in a lab experiments in class. Currently I do not have the abilities to operate a flipped classroom so I can only do a small amount of labs, but in my opinion labs are one of the best hands-on and active way for students to learn content. The lab that I would do is a tennis ball lab that connects to cellular respiration. The students are in groups and they have to squeeze a tennis as hard as they can for 30 seconds take a rest and do it again. The students have to do this five times in a row and keep track of how many times they can fully squeeze the tennis ball. The connection is that over time your muscles fatigue with has to do with cellular respiration, glycogen storage, and anaerobic fermentation.

4) Lesson Flow

The lesson will flow in the direction of starting with the video and questions at home so that when students come into class they have received and reviewed the content, therefore they are ready to begin the lab. I would most likely do a review at the beginning of the class of content that pertained to the lab and then the rest of the class period would be devoted to the students lab time. A block class period would be perfect to also start a discussion and analyze the data however it could be done over a class period and a half or two full periods.

5) Benefit to Students

This format allows students to be exposed to the material outside of class so that by the time they come into class they know what they know and what they do not know. This allows time for more questions and one-on-one time with students in class. The content offloading also allows for more hands-on, minds-on activities in the class, which for me means LABS LABS LABS. Labs are wonderful opportunites for students to demonstrate their knowledge and learning in a more active format. It also helps students that struggle with learning content from a screen or a person another way to learn material.

Image Attribution: Allison Meier

What would I even use this for?

So Screencasting is something that I kinda sorta knew existed but never really bothered with it. Well, I finally bothered with it! I decided to mess around with Screencasting by teaching how to navigate a scientific research database. Looking back on my Biology Minor I really wish that one of my professors had told me how to navigate different research websites. Because of that it became my focus for practicing screencasting. Overall it was pretty intuitive on how to use it. In the beginning there is a bit of noise in the background so if I continue to use this I might want to invest in some sort of microphone.

My challenges are currently a lack of technology in my classroom. However in an ideal world I could see a couple uses for screencasting. I could teach my students how to use different applications like quizlet or edmodo which I both implement in my classroom. I could also show them different reliable and safe science websites.  By giving the students access to these videos they will be much more safe online and be exposed to routines that I implement in the classroom. This could free up valuable classroom instruction time, definitely a benefit!

I feel that I have only recently been exposed to screencasting so I really do not know all the opportunities that it could have for my future classroom but I plan on finding out!

Featured Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/69504630@N03/6320530875/in/photolist-aCwnCg-4uu1k-dHxtKH-4zFbDW-aRufP6-aDuUL-oohXc-4MSLXm-8UMPZ3-4Nkp4-bgqHEX-5upwd8-4EVquu-9D4hFt-9D4gP6-9D7beW-L2kYf-7nUjfY-9D7cjU-9D4hEP-9D7bTY-9D7cLY-9D4hjP-9D4giR-9D4ide-9D4hUM-9D7cE3-9D4ggF-9D7az1-9D7cGC-L2kXd-9D4ifD-9D4ij8-8FmzXf-9D4gLF-9D7c73-9D4hBv-9D7avw-7k34sV-4NiPa-57ga9c-9BxRqj-5TcFgs-5NfGcU-aDuUk-7Jf643-LiR3R5-4tPWqy-LCkK1-4qN2vF

Attribution: librarianpond

Discovering Antibiotic Resistance through OneNote

When starting this assignment I thought about what note taking tool I should use and immediately decided on OneNote. It seemed an obvious choice to me, because I am a student at the University of Portland I have free access to OneNote. I looked it over when UP first did the diabolical switch from Google to Microsoft that most students I talked to were so fearful of (What about Google Docs they said?!?). However I still find myself being very much a traditionalist as a student. When I’m in a classroom I like a pad of paper and a pen in front of me, not a laptop. I find that if I type it just does not filter through my brain the same way and I end up leaving the class having gained nothing. I need to physically write to learn. So I quickly tossed aside the idea of using OneNote.


This assignment gave me the chance to give it a second look in a slightly different capacity.

And this time I enjoyed using OneNote. I still would not use it as a student in a classroom because I know myself enough to know if I’m going to learn and remember something I have to handwrite it. But I liked it for the purpose of a project. It gave me the space to put my notes in more of a free format then Microsoft Word does which was satisfying. I could start typing anywhere on the page. It would embed the video links and actually allow me to watch them from the page. I could organize the material however I chose, and then reorganize it when I actually had my assignment figured out. I like using OneNote and could see myself using it for planning lessons or future projects. Its nice to keep everything in one spot but be able to have multiple pages and separate notebooks.


Students in classrooms now are fairly digitally literate, and might not have the same issues I do with needing paper and pencil. I could see in a 1-to-1 school having a class use OneNote to take notes, work on projects or even as a study tool. I could also see the potential to create lessons on it, share it with each student and then have them actually interact with the notebook and return it with completed “homework” or activities that were outlined. This would have to be in a technology able class but that is where I see most schools heading towards so it is a good idea to keep in the back of your pocket.


I would be interested in using other notetaking applications to see what the benefits and weaknesses of each are but I enjoyed using OneNote and could see its applications in the classroom, plus I always have a enlightening time when I’m able to research a scientific topic that interests me. I hope you learn something when looking at my notes on antibiotic resistance!

Antibiotic Resistance pdf

Image: Ully Beil

Where is Technology?

Technology is everywhere yet at the same time its hard to find. My students are continually on their cell phones in class and sometimes it can be a battle to get their attention. And yet media and technology is so useful that I wish I had more of it. My cooperating teacher used to have about six desktop computers in his classroom but they were removed in anticipation of Union High School becoming a 1-to-1 school in the next couple of years. You would think that they would not remove the highly prized connection to the outside world until they established a new one. However that was not the case, so instead we have to reserve one of four chrome book carts that is supposed to serve 2,000 students.

As you can see its sometimes difficult to integrate interactive technology into the classroom for my students. Every classroom has a desktop monitor that hooks up to each teacher’s Microsoft Surface Pro. Every classroom has a projector and a document camera but that’s where the technology ends. Meaning that I can show my students a PowerPoint and use the document camera to go through assignments and worksheets. However getting my students to be active with technology is sadly a challenge, unless its on their own smartphones.


Technology literacy would have at one point in the past seemed absurd. However now it is expected and valued. I know my way around the basics of a computer and many different operating systems. But I do not consider myself technology literate in a classroom setting. To me you have to go beyond using PowerPoints, and showing Bozeman Science Videos to be consider a technologically literate teacher. What about flipped classrooms using technology, or Google Classroom? What about Edpuzzle and kahoot, plus so much more?

I feel that I have been stymied in being able to become technology literate in my classroom by two separate things. My lack of knowledge and in some cases determination to learn what I do not understand. But the larger issue is the demographics of my school. Almost every teenager now has a smartphone, but I cannot always assume that. I know that some of my students do not. And since we do not have enough chrome books to go around I am somewhat limited in technology. I cannot do kahoot unless I group the kids up. I cannot practice a flipped classroom  if I know that not every child has access to technology at home.

I feel that these are the things that set me back. However, I also feel that I just need to get more creative. I am sure there are more ways to try and integrate technology into the classroom and I just have not discovered them yet. I hope that through this course I can discover new methods of technology integration into my classroom, in a way that is interactive for the students and promotes their learning.

https://clipartfest.com/categories/view/b59a7fbaf2b911ab3cbcc916673a67579bc86690/animal-vs-person-clipart.html