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The Science of Teaching Science

Found in: science; preK-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12

The Science of Teaching Science is a professional development series for K-12 teachers. Eight workshops explore inquiry teaching and issues that arise with its use in a variety of science classrooms. Each workshop features an approximately 90-minute video and supporting materials. Teachers can register for 2 graduate creditsTeacher-Talk is a workshop discussion list.

  • Workshop 1 — Preparing to Teach Science (1:23:10) is an introduction to the series as well as a look at how K-8 teachers who may not have extensive backgrounds in science and math can prepare themselves to teach those subjects effectively. Support materials include an assignment to prepare for Workshop 2 and data table.
  • Workshop 2 — Eliciting Students' Prior Knowledge (1:23:46) examines strategies like concept mapping, pretests, and student interpretations of demonstrations. The assignment asks teachers to describe three simple lessons about sight or the lack of it in a journal entry.
  • Workshop 3 — Creating a Context for Learning: Observing Phenomena (1:28:24) Learning is facilitated when students can relate a problem to their own experience, and even more so if they formulate the questions. Video clips show teachers incorporating student questions in lessons. The assignment has teachers design a data collection sheet for an experiment in cohesion and surface tension.
  • Workshop 4 — Supporting Good Data Collection (1:25:06) asks teachers to think how they can help students prepare for good scientific observation and data collection. The assignment has teachers think of three ways students could summarize and display data on water clarity and oxygen content and then list the strengths and weaknesses of each method.

The final four workshops cover summarizing, comparing, and interpreting results; special considerations for the science classroom; specific instructional strategies; and student assessment.


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