Science in the City

Jun 2, 2013

Earth Science Review Strategy Freebie For You

Here is a way that I like to review.  Click on the link to access the freebie.

This link goes to a document that I have created that walks students through using several different websites to review Earth Science.

It is specifically geared towards reviewing in the computer lab for Regents Earth Science (New York State), but could definitely be used in other Earth Science classes.

I like to use this on a fairly early day in the 'review' section of the course. It then allows students a chance to get familiar with the websites in a guided setting, and then take the directions home to study on their own, or earn extra credit (obviously the teacher's choice).  Students seem to like it because it allows them some control, and they can work at their own pace.

This could also be a great option for kids to use when they have extra time in library, tech, or other classes where they have computer access.

Hope it is helpful!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

May 30, 2013

What Are Your Thoughts on The Flipped Classroom?

If you follow my facebook page, you may have seen the discussion a week or so ago about the Flipped Classroom idea.  If not, I'll summarize here:

These comments really got me thinking...on three tangents....(1)what is necessary for a flipped classroom to be successful.  (2) How different is it? (3) Why is it better? (Or why all the buzz?)

(1) I see the following necessary ingredients: available technology to students, motivated students who do homework and come prepared to class, available technology for teachers to be able to provide the instructional videos.  I think the last one is not such a problem.  I do see the first two as a barrier, particularly where I teach.  HOWEVER, maybe this is a place to use time periods like extra help, afterschool, study halls, AIS, or however your class is structured and make it more individualized by providing video instruction?  Particularly if a teacher can't help 20 kids individually.

(2) I don't think its fundamentally different for science.  It seems to be catching on more in math, and I think it is fundamentally different there.  In math, we are all familiar with the model where the teacher does examples, you go home and practice (and get stuck).  It makes sense to 'flip' this.  In science, however, I think there are already a lot of cases where students are supposed to read outside of class, or practice vocabulary, etc, and come to class prepared to do the hands-on part. This could be extended and altered so that it happens even more often, and so that more of the analysis and writing/processing happens in class.

(3) The idea of 'flipping' is very in line with current technology, student interests, and even common core.  Common core asks students to read, but also to analyze information from different sources, and to do more with the information . It allows more individualization, to a point.

Here is a really interesting analysis and discussion, in addition to the two websites offered above.

However, I don't see my classes, in my current setting, getting to the point she talks about.  I think the 'flip' might have to be an intermediate step.....

Have you tried it? Have thoughts or feedback to share?  I'd love to hear it as I begin to reflect and think theoretically about next year.  (Cause we have the summers off, right?)

Thanks for reading! 

May 27, 2013

Learning About Teaching With Case Studies

This is a short post to share a resource with you. If you aren't familiar with the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science you should check it out.

 This is primarily a high school and college resource, although it could perhaps be modified to lower age levels. When I taught AP Environmental Science, I used these case studies quite a bit.

I have had mixed results with middle school doing anything similar.  They need a lot of modification.  However, as I transition back to high school, I plan to try to use these more.  I think the roll-out of Common Core, and increased non-fiction reading is a perfect place and reason to use case studies.  It forces students to read and comprehend non-fiction, and could be a great jumping off point to build in more current events and news articles from around the world (which is one of my goals for next year).

There are a couple of cases designed for middle school, others for general/information education, and the cases are searchable in many ways.

Each year they have a fall conference to learn about teaching with case studies.  I have wanted to attend, but never have.  This year, there is a special piece of that conference for high school teachers, and a scholarship for high school teachers.

Wish me luck, and definitely check out the website for your own classroom use, or just for ideas.

A modification of a case, along with the supporting lesson plan materials that I created when I was student teaching are still posted here

I used this case as a jumping off point for sock mitosis (picture is students doing the same activity, but not my students, from

I have used this lesson since then with high school kids (good results) and middle school kids (pretty good results)...they didn't get all about mitosis, but they definitely got the larger picture and remember, still, that errors during the egg formation can cause Down's Syndrome.  Guess they learned something!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

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