Biggest Challenges In Teaching Science, Part II

Recently I asked a class what they thought their greatest challenges would be in teaching science. They came up with a great list. Here it is:

  1. Preparing students for state exams while giving students a positive outlook of science
  2. Familiarity with classroom manipulatives. How to choose right/appropiate outside readings and material.
  3. Change in mindset when moving to a learner focused teaching method. Changing nature of science based on what is currently known
  4. How to create a rubric that can be used to effectively assess students in a timely manner.
  5. How to tailor class plans, activities, and scientific language for students of different ages and different skills.
  6. Increase pressures on a teachers “teaching” time, including planning and assessment time. How to fit science into 40 minute periods?
  7. Lack of institutional commitment to science. Expense, storage and choice of science materials.
  8. How to keep students on task in the science classroom. Coming up with activities that will spark imagination and fit the curriculum.

I was taken aback at how many of these questions still dog me today when I am creating lesson plans and thinking about how to address a new topic. In fact in teaching this very Science Education class this semester, I have been wrestling with many of these same issues.

What do you think?

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25 thoughts on “Biggest Challenges In Teaching Science, Part II

  1. Laura March
    Edu 7136

    My Question for Reflection:
    How to keep students on task in the science classroom? Coming up with activities that will spark imagination and fit the curriculum.

    Teaching science has both many challenges and rewards. One of the biggest challenges we face as science teachers is creating lessons that will not only get students to learn but hold student interest. To me getting students to learn is best accomplished when the students can relate to the topic or are interested by the hands on element that the activity may have.

    To many teachers hands-on learning in science is completely different from their own science learning experiences. Growing up science was not about “doing” but about the memorization of facts and different vocabulary words. I can remember it being very boring at times. The truth is I did well in science in elementary school but if you were to ask me about what topic I learned about I would hardly remember. Our job as teachers in to get students to learn concepts and skills that they will use throughout their lives not just to pass one test. The scientific process skills of classifying, observing, measuring, communicating, inferring, predicting and experimenting are skills that students must develop. Students will be able to apply these skills not only to science but to all situations they may face in life. We as teachers are getting students to develop higher order thinking skills- being able to analyze situstions and then infer what to do next.

    We have come very far in the teaching community, we have learned that when students are interested in the topic and are “doing” hands-on activities, they learn best. Hands-on learning gets students involved and responsible for their own learning. Teachers should use problem–centered learning that gets students to draw their own conclusions (this relates to standards S1.1 a, b, c , S2a, S.2 b,c, S2.2 b,c,d,e and S2.3 b,c “To formulate questions of scientific inquiry, To identify questions and formulate hypothesis”). In problem-centered learning the teacher acts as the facilitator and may pose the initial question but the students decide what is the best way to go about investigating, exploring and hypothesizing. This also helps students to work the way they learn best (Multiple Intelligences). The teacher should scaffold instruction, giving students just the right amount of support and guidance.

    I believe in the constructivist view of education. Constructivists believe in learning through exploration. Hands–on activities and active learning replace textbooks and cookie cutter experiments. Exploration is especially essential in science, memorizing facts about rocks or plants can seem so distant or unimportant but when students are creating their own fossils and seeing the difference between a cast (an imprint of the fossil) and a mold (a replication of the object) they are more likely to remember and understand the differences between these two types of fossils. When students observe and record the phases of the moon they are more likely to remember the phases (the difference between waxing and waning) because of the visual reference they have. When students create the type of parachute that works best or the type of “can” (come back can) that goes the quickest they will be more likely to remember the concepts such as the effect that size of the can or parachute or thickness of the rubber bands have on the speed of the can or the parachute. These activities relate to standard PS 5.1b,c to “Demonstrate how the position of an object can be changed by pushing or pulling forces and PS 5.1d “Observe and describe how the amount of change in the motion of an object is affected by friction.”

    We as teachers first must be aware of the science standards for the grade we are teaching and also the interests of our students. The science standards for each grade can be found on the internet: Science Scope and Sequence K-8 NYC Department of Education (revised May 1, 2008), New York City’s Science Curriculum and New York State Mathematics, Science and Technology Standards. Teachers should read these standards over and determine the generalizations or concepts that they want/need to teach. Teachers must develop a plan for the order that they want to teacher the concepts in. Teachers must develop appropriate bridges (or transitions from one lesson to the next). The bridges from one lesson to the next or the introduction to lessons must capture student interest. We as teachers should try to relate the concept being taught to the students’ past or current experiences. It can seem daunting, if teachers see it as competing with students’ interests. Instead of fighting their interests we should leverage their interests and incorporate their interests into the activities we plan. I know that as a teacher, in my own class, there are students that love cars and racing. The comeback can would be a great activity to capture and keep their interest. I have other students that are very passionate about their love of nature and animals (last year we had a bake sale to raise money for the protection of animals against cruelty). Having an activity in which they had to create a “green” invention to reduce waste or pollution would interest and motivate them. Young students also love working with manipulatives such as food. Using MnMs to learn to classify, sort and record their results on graphs would keep students interested. This activity relates to standards PS3.1 b,c to “Observe and describe the physical properties of objects” and PS 3.1f to “Sort or group objects according to their properties.”

    Teachers may either feel that there is so much information out there what should they use, or they may feel where can they find appropriate activities, manipulatives and resources. The internet is a great tool to use, especially the National Science Teachers Association website. The site contains a list of activity books and activities to do with your class. Another great site is Eduaction.com, they site has many hand-ons activities which the break down of the steps and needed materials. One of my favorite sites is Zoom activities on the pbskids.org website has activities for almost every topic in science. There are activities for chemistry ( Baking Soda Bubbles, Polishing Pennies, Saltwater tester, etc), Engineering (Balloon Blast-off, Cereal Dispenser, Coat Hanger, Door Opener, etc.), Five Senses ( Sensitivity Tester, Tongue Map, etc.) ,there are also many activities on Forces and Energy, Life Science, Patterns, Sound, Structure and Water. All these activities relate to standards in the science curriculum, for example the polishing pennies activity relates to standard PS 3.1c,d,e,g to “Observe and describe the changes of objects when placed in different environments.” Another great site is exploraturium.edu which has many hand-on activities, games, puzzles, resources, webcasts, online exhibitions and science news. All Barnes and Nobles have a selection of teacher resources as well as many other book stores. Two local stores that are great for activity books, books to read as well as materials are Carol’s and Lakeshore Learning. I also would advise that materials for experiments can be ordinary household products (Ex: our DNA experiment in class with the apples) or from object found in nature (classifying and sorting leaves), thay do not have to be expensive. Also teachers should remember that science should and does connect to other content areas. As a math teacher I have used the MnM Counting Book to create activities on probability (finding the percent and decimal a color is likely to appear). This activity works extremely well for both science and math. This activity relates to science standard M3.1a to “Use mathematics in scientific inquiry.” Predicting and recording results on graphing, sorting the MnMs by color are skills use for both subjects.

    We as teachers are so lucky to live in this era of technology. We have so many resources at our finger tips. In order to create lessons/ activities that will capture student interest we must first base them on the science standards and the scientific process skills, then use students’ prior knowledge and experiences to come up with hands-on activities. We must have students work together and let their interest drive the learning experience. We must use their questions to lead the experiments. This means looking for or developing activities that work for your class. Every year this may change. As teachers it can be slightly scary to sit back and act only as a facilitator but in the long run students will truly learn skills for life when they have a part in their learning process. We as teachers must learn to be creative with materials, lessons and even developing new activities that are appropriate for our students. Lastly, we must remember we as teachers must show an interest in the concepts we are teaching. Interest and enjoyment are contagious!

    All references to Standards are from:
    K-8 Science Scope & Sequence, NYC Department of Education Revised May 1, 2008

  2. This reflection is in response to the challenge: “How to keep students on task in the science classroom?” and “Coming up with activities that will spark imagination and fit the curriculum.” Keeping students on task not only the science classroom, but in all subjects, can be daunting without the appropriate classroom management skills. Skillfully aligning children whose attention may run off task with those students whose attention does not go off task quickly is one way to manage groups during classroom activities. Also, adding variety to student learning activities also helps to keep students on task. However, what type of learning activities do we as teachers need to add to our lessons in order to keep students on task and fit curriculum AND spark imagination?

    Howard Gardner claims that all human beings have multiple intelligences. These multiple intelligences can be nurtured and strengthened, or ignored and weakened. According to a traditional definition, intelligence is a uniform cognitive capacity people are born with and that this capacity can be easily measured by short-answer tests. We as teachers today know this is not the case. A lesson taught using a number of different activities that take into consideration the students’ individual intelligence will be perceived by the students each in a more positive way. By becoming familiar with your students’ particular learning styles and intelligences, you can chose your activities appropriately. Many teachers find it difficult to create lessons that incorporate all of the intelligence areas and assess for them. It is recommended, however, that at least four intelligences be touched on with respect to content.

    We also know that when students take ownership in their own work, learning takes place in a meaningful way. This can happen in when: (1) Students can make real life connections to the content. (2) Students are curious about content and want to learn more. (3) Students are eager to do an activity that they believe it will be fun (ie. Fits their personal multiple intelligences). We as a class discussed many different creative ways to introduce science concepts. We discussed the Constructivist theory, concept maps, science centers, science fairs, creating new inventions, inquiry-based activities or hand-on activities, nature of science activities, etc. These are all excellent opportunities for teachers to create activities to initiate student ownership.

  3. Sophia Kossaris
    Education 7136

    Teaching any subject carries it’s own difficulties. Science for me I think may have the most difficulties out of all the core subjects probably because of the reasons stated in the previous reflection (item #2 on the class list). Looking at all the items of our list of challenges, I see challenges which may be faced when teaching any subject, however one caught my attention as it was something I had mentioned in class in the beginning of the semester; the institutional dedication to science is deficient in our school system. I will base this week’s reflection on challenge #7: the lack of institutional commitment to science and expense, storage, and choice of science materials.

    Firstly, as mentioned before my personal challenge for teaching science was choosing the appropriate manipulatives, materials and extended reading. Having said this, I feel that the expense, storage and choice are a reiteration of my own challenge. Science materials and equipment can certainly be expensive and the storage can be a problem, however even if we were to somehow have some type of manipulatives/ materials for the use of a science activity we still must understand how to implement them correctly. Of course kits come with directions of how to use their book and their tools, however we know that kits don’t know your needs or your students. This could mean without the help of experienced co-workers we may be left stranded, as most teachers are not really told how to teach science, instead they are just given the class and the textbook and told to teach.

    I think that the challenge of choosing the appropriate materials may be bigger than just this. In fact, I feel that many of the challenges on this list are stemming from a larger challenge, and I think this “larger challenge” is first part of item #7- the lack of institutional commitment to science. I really do agree that there is no longer this emphasis on the importance of the subject for our students. Being in schools, I have seen that science is no longer taught every school day, at the very best it may be taught three times a week. So, what message is that giving us as teachers, and our students about learning science? If our students begin to believe that science is a subject that is not important since we don’t have science everyday, how can we keep them interested and engaged? How can we show them that learning and understanding science is imperative? How can we prepare them for the state test if they feel it is unimportant? The questions are endless for the students but also for the teachers?

    Having said this, I would also like to point out the 40-minute blocks, on an elementary school level, are not an everyday occurrence in most schools. If teachers were told to teach science everyday for 40-minute periods, we would have more time to teach our students and show them that science is truly important. We would also have more time to allow them to perform various activities, and be engaged in scientific inquiry. It would also ultimately give us more time to prepare our students for the state examinations.

    As the aforementioned states, the lack of institutional commitment in teaching science is really creating an even larger problem for teachers and students. I don’t think that teachers are receiving the proper support when teaching science. Teaching science 2-3 times a week simply gives us less time to do our job and transmits a message that science is simply not as important as ELA, mathematics or social studies. Perhaps bringing the science curriculum back to the everyday routine (where it ultimately belongs as it is a core subject) and even some type of professional development for teaching science could help the situation. Furthermore, I feel that it is evident that the system in this context should be restructured.

  4. What process skills are scientists using in the lab and how can we implement those process skills in the classroom?

    During the DNA extraction exercise the class had to follow a list of produces that were given out. We were instructed to observe graduate student conduction this experiment and relate it to how we would use these process skills to teach elementary science.
    What I observed was that there are certain process skills that are needed to conduct a successful science experiment. The first and most important thing to teach students is safety rules. They had to were gloves and clean up any spills that my occurs during the experiment. The materials needed to do the experiment need to be present at the time of the experiment. A handout of instruction needs to be distributed to students and they should be reminded to follow the directions precisely. Certain process skills that are needed to conduct on experiment are paying attention to details and following directions. Teachers can model the laboratory experiment before have the student’s practice the technique. Time is a factor when doing a science experiment because certain students work quicker than others. For these students teacher can suggest that they document the time next to each step on their handout. An important factor to consider when creating a science lesson is to relate the activity to the student’s very day lives. This will give students a purpose or deeper understanding as to why they are conducting the experiment. In conclusion I really enjoyed this class and I was glad that I had a chance to observe the process skills that scientists use in a lab to conduct an actual experiment.

  5. Science, first and foremost, is a complex subject that entails many different aspects of learning, and it is very true that students must be able to enjoy what they are learning in order to succeed.
    The preparation for state exams is not only a challenging time for students, but for teachers as well. This time period is a good tool to evaluate the instructor’s teaching skills, how well they are doing with their class and what changes need to be done. A positive outlook on science, or any subject for that matter, starts with the teacher. In my readings from one class last semester, it explained the pressures on teachers for the success rate on state exams, and to ensure that most students, if not all of them, will pass, therefore resulting in a raise for the instructor, and diminishing the possibility of having trouble with the school’s administration. All of these pressures, if not handled in a positive manner by the teacher, will be visible to the students, and will reflect on how the teacher presents science to them in class. It is understandable for teachers to be overwhelmed by these pressures, but if their students are to enjoy science, and understand at the same time that there are requirements to be met (by these state exams), then it will hold an equal balance of importance and fulfillment of science in general. Therefore it is important for the teacher to first, not submit to the demanding pressures of state exams, second, to understand that although there are requirements asked of the class, the students’ understanding and process of science will be successful if the teacher can install into the students the importance of these exams, but at the same time, makes the lessons fun and enjoyable so it will lead them into the tests in a optimistic way.
    In choosing the suitable resources for the class, it is important for the teacher to understand their class’ strengths and weaknesses. It would not be beneficial for the students if the teacher were to bring in an instrument or tool that is unfamiliar and ahead of the lesson, so it is important for the instructor to know where their students are as far as how to direct lesson plans and where to find the corresponding materials. It is also crucial for these outside resources to be interesting, unique and fun for the students. For example, if the teacher is doing a lesson on nature: the trees, grass, and flowers, it would be very common to simply introduce a pinecone to the class, as they have seen many of these already. What would be appealing to the students, is a different method, like taking the pinecone and another small object and weighing the two on a balance scale, which from what I gathered during my observations, children love to work with in class. The teacher should always use care and proper decision making skills to choose resources that will accommodate the entire class.
    In regards to the learner focused method, I will admit to liking it better than the traditional, teacher focused method. After all, the students will benefit the most from this method, and that is a vital part in their success, not only in their science class, but in their future altogether. For a traditional, old fashioned teacher, there will most certainly be a huge change in the mindset as it will follow a more student directed approach. Again, this will benefit the students in many ways because from the curriculum, to the lesson plans, down to the actual resources used in the classroom, it can be designed to fit the students’ needs and learning levels. It is most often that you will find a teacher lecturing from a textbook and spotting a few students that are not following along, or distracted doing something else. For students changing to an instructor who uses the learner focused method, their mindset will change in that they will feel more connected to the lesson and what they are learning. They will be given opportunities to learn the concept in ways that they would enjoy, but more importantly, in ways they will remember.
    The composing of the rubric that will be used in a science class can contain many specific elements that are required of the student. Due to the fact that science itself is a complicated subject, the rubric will be able to specify more of what the teacher is looking for, according to the time that is given to the class to complete the tasks. The teacher should first consider the time period of his or her class (for example, 40 minutes). The next step would be to figure out where their students will fit with which lesson plans the instructor has chosen, as far as their ability to keep up with the experiment. The teacher will have to strongly keep in consideration, the amount of time that is expected of their class to perform during this specific experiment, and the appropriate grading assessment to correspond to it. The teacher can perhaps time each task, and evaluate how the student: prepared for the lesson, set up the experiment, executed the experiment, and collected the data. Based on either a worksheet, or data (graphs or charts) or a class discussion, it is at this time that the teacher will be able to observe just which students completed all of the tasks successfully according to the time limit, and those that will need more help.
    Constructing lesson plans that accommodate the various types of students seems quite like the difficult task. The teacher here is relied upon by which he or she will know their students and their abilities and speeds as far as comprehending and processing information. Teachers can group the students together in the categories which fit them best, and then proceed with the lesson plan from there. As similar to a presentation I conducted for a class last semester, me and my classmate created a lesson plan that catered to the gifted level, general level and special needs level. The teacher will obviously keep the one concept and basic experiment as the same for every student, except that the students can be grouped together, or one group will each have a gifted student that can further assist in the experiment besides the teacher.
    In addition to other pressures on teachers, such as the success rate of their students, and parental approval of what their students are learning, the time factor can be an issue. Instructors need to be able to plan according to their students and the importance of the lesson itself. For example, if there is a lesson that includes a lot of observation, like strains of bacteria under a microscope, the teacher should know how to break down the introduction to the lesson, the experiment itself, the collection of data and a closing discussion. Time will have to also be prioritized, such as, allowing most of the time to be spent on the experiment process, and smaller times for introduction and the closing of the lesson. Therefore, a 40 minute period can consist of 10 minutes with introduction, 25 minutes of the experiment itself, and 5 minutes of the ending discussion. I am not teaching yet, so I am not going to say that this can work 100% of the time, but it is an example of how to prioritize the time the teacher has, with what’s most important from the lesson.
    Science, as far as I can remember, was always considered to be one of the top three most important subjects. However, there are many schools that do not have the luxuries and resources to have the most up to date tools and products to use in an experiment. As far as a lacking in commitment to science, I feel that it is related to the fact that not all schools have access to advanced scientific resources. There are times now that schools cannot afford to give out textbooks, teachers that have to dig into their own pockets to buy supplies for their students, so this lack of institutional commitment can certainly come from the simple fact that the school simply does not have the means to receive better quality materials or updated textbooks.
    Grasping the full attention of students can certainly be a task in itself, but if instructors have unique and fun ways of teaching the concept, they can present an interesting lesson. From my observations from this semester and last, students were engaged in the lesson by starting with a brief discussion about the lesson the day before. Here is a time where they can reflect on the prior work they have done, their likes and dislikes, and what they have learned. This is beneficial in that they can apply this knowledge to their next lesson. The teacher can also enter into the lesson with a physical example of what the students will be learning, for example, the teacher can bring in the game ‘operation’, if they are learning about the human body and its organs. This is something that although seems silly, the children can relate to it because they’ve probably played the game before, and they now can associate a fun thing to something they learned in school. Children will associate something fun with learning at the same time, and this will be something that can benefit them in other classes as well.

  6. Science is a very complex subject to teach. Teaching science can be very difficult and comes with many challenges. Teachers must follow state standards, but at the same time, create engaging activities that will allow students to think for themselves and participate in problem solving. Science requires student inquiry and hands on learning.
    Materials and resources are frequently needed, which can take up both time and money. All of this must be done in a forty minute period. The daily challenges that science teachers go through are endless. With the right mindset and effort, however, one’s science class can be an enriching and successful experience for all.

    Creating a rubric to effectively assess students in a timely manner is one of the biggest challenges science teachers are faced with. Teachers have to be absolutely certain that they are assessing their students fairly and accurately. It’s important that a rubric measures what it is designed to measure. Teachers need to be sure that their rubric is not biased, and that it is both valid and reliable. There are a number of things teachers should keep in mind in order to effectively assess students in a timely manner. When created carefully, rubrics can be an accurate assessment of a student’s learning, showing a teacher where the students are and where they need to be.

    One thing an effective rubric should be is specific. It specifies exactly what the student should have learned or gotten out of the experience. This means that the grades can’t be too broad, and the actual descriptors of each grade range should be very specific as well. The rubric should also be sure to cover the NYS science standards.

    Another thing to keep in mind when effectively assess students is to create more than one rubric for each unit. A number of different units should be created in order to assess how well the students did in each area. For example, different rubrics should be created in order to assess a student’s participation in activities, as well as the quality of their work. Keep in mind that “work” doesn’t mean just one thing. Different rubrics may have to be created in order to assess a paper they may have written, an oral presentation, their science journals, and exams. Teachers have to remember that one rubric may not fit for everything the student does. One must constantly change and modify rubrics to produce a rubric that is fair and effective for that unit of study.

    Most teachers often feel like there is not enough time to assess all of their students. One way to save time is by having students self assess and also peer assess. Teachers can give students a rubric where they can assess themselves and their peers. This, of course, shouldn’t be the only rubric used, but it can be beneficial. Self assessment helps students be aware of where they are at and what they need to improve upon. It’s great for the students, and can also save some time.

    Creating rubrics, especially for science, can be a very big challenge for teachers. It requires a lot of time and work. When done correctly, it’s a great tool to assess students and also help teachers see where students may be struggling. Teachers can use rubrics to go back and perhaps reteach a concept that many students may not have mastered in a different way. It may take some trial and error, but creating a fair and accurate rubric is both feasible and beneficial to all.

  7. Pingback: Challenges in teaching science « Kulplit215’s Blog

  8. Change in mindset when moving to a learner focused teaching method. Changing nature of science based on what is currently known.

    A more teacher focused learning method is safe and predictable. It gives the teacher complete control and minimizes the chance of being confronted with facts or questions they are not familiar with. This method is sometimes used as a fall back or safety net, especially with new teachers who have not developed or perfected their classroom and time management skills — but at what price?

    The teacher focused learning method spoon feeds information to students. Because they are not actively participating in their learning, the are not actively engaged. It does not promote creativity, independent thought, inquiry and does not encourage students to branch out to other questions and related fields of science.

    What can teachers do?

    – With time and teaching experience, teachers will (should?) become more comfortable with time management and less rigid, open-ended lessons.
    – “Scaffold” their students learning. Present the over arching topic to the class, but allow them to pose their own questions.
    – Supply the students with the tools they will need to gather their own evidence.
    – Allow students to come to their own conclusions and present them in a manner they see fit.
    – Have alternative assessments. Grades do not have to come from exams alone. Appeal to different intelligences by allowing different forms of expressions (drawings, models, etc).

    As discussed in the beginning of the semester, the nature of science is dynamic. What is known is constantly being refuted, revised and added on to. How can teachers keep up with this flux of information in order to present an accurate view of science to their students?

    I believe teachers should do their best to obtain up-to-date textbooks for their class. However, this is not enough because even up-to-date books can potentially be outdated the second they are printed. Teachers should supplement all textbooks (both current and out-of-date) with other books, guest lecturers, the internet and other news sources (newspapers, etc). Teachers should also keep up with what is going on in the science community by reading articles and journals and talking to other teachers and professionals. Additionally, teachers should remind their students that they cannot rely solely on the teacher for their information. They must remain active learners and pursue knowledge for themselves. Teachers should also explain that we know today can be proven otherwise tomorrow. Students should take all information with a grain of salt.

  9. Reflection Question: Change in mindset when moving to a learner focused teaching method. Changing nature of science based on what is currently known.

    Teachers tend to be stuck in a comfort zone of teaching the way they feel comfortable by lecturing from the textbook or from their own specific dictating lesson plan. The teacher takes complete power and direction over the classroom leaving the students with no other way to learn or be engaged. They are drilled with data and facts, some in which they fully do not understand. How do we change a teacher’s mindset from this to a more learner focused teaching method?

    When it comes to ones teaching style it is important to have a profound understanding of your student’s position and approach to learning. Teachers need to realize that a learner centered classroom focuses primarily on a students needs and individual learning. In my opinion, a teacher focused lesson is more centered on the teacher’s needs and not the students. In order to steer away from this, the teacher should try to utilize the interest of their students needs. When beginning a lesson, pose questions and encourage discussion rather then dictate and encourage memorization. This way the learners are more self-directed, often asking new questions or providing a variety of answers. This approach will benefit the teacher as well because it will make assessment much easier by gaining feedback and seeing what worked and what did not with your students.

    The nature of science is always changing and coming up with modified ways of interpreting new data and evidence. Science never gives us that one right answer; which makes it different from all the other areas that we study. The reason for this is it is one of those topics that scientists keep trying to test different hypothesis until they find the answer they are satisfied with. This occurs because of new technology or a better way to explain scientific phenomena. As future educators, we have to stay up to date on the latest technology and theories being brought to the public. In order to keep students informed on new scientific information there should always be accessible resources in the classroom. This could include contemporary textbooks, magazines and hands on internet usage. By taking this approach to teaching science, students will always be aware of a paradigm shift if it occurs.

  10. When I think about teacher’s “teaching time” I immediately think of pressure. How do we, as teachers, fit everything we have to teach into one school day? Every time I talk to a teacher I hear the same thing. “There isn’t enough time in the day”. This is the one consistent pressure teachers face everyday and every school year. Why is this?

    We as teachers are responsible to teach the curriculum that will show up on the standardized test that students MUST pass. If teachers fail in teaching the curriculum, this leads to poor scores which leads to schools, administrators, and teachers suffering the consequences. We as a society are so obsessed with standardized tests as a way to assess student learning that we don’t look to see if students are actually understanding the curriculum. Just because students learn the material doesn’t mean they actually understand it. They may know enough to pass a test but when it comes to after the test; it goes right out the window if the understanding isn’t there.

    If we spend all of our time teaching, how are we able to accomplish the other duties teachers have? A recent study performed by Stanford University found that “U.S teachers spend about 80% of their working time teaching in the classroom versus about 60% for most other industrialized nations; they average 3-5 hours a week in lesson planning versus 15-20 hours a week in Europe and in Asia”(Holl, 2006). Instead of focusing on our time teaching, we should be focusing on how to improve our teaching. If we worked on how to improve our teaching skills, we would spend less of our “teaching” time because we wouldn’t need to revisit certain parts of a lesson students didn’t comprehend.

    So how can we alleviate some of the pressure associated with “teachers” teaching time which also includes planning and assessment time? I believe one key skill that all teachers MUST possess is time management. Without time management skills, the day can go by very fast without much being accomplished. Here are just a few ways to help relieve pressure during your teaching time:

    -Schedule solid blocks of teaching time for each day
    -Hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign outside your door during those times
    -Secure your principal’s help in scheduling pull-out programs

    -Plan for smooth transitions
    -Great for between lessons
    -Have materials ready for each lesson or activity.

    Ways you can help yourself during your planning or prep time:

    -Use a daily planner
    -Keep all your “to do” lists there
    -Will help keep you on track throughout the day

    -Consider using grading software
    -Can help you gain precious time

    These are just some ways that will help when teaching and planning lessons.

    But once these skills are utilized and the lesson plans are completed, how do you fit science lessons into 40 minutes? In my opinion, teaching science in 40 minutes is a bit of a stretch. It may take two to three lessons to teach one concept and that usually means spending up to three days on one lesson. Personally, I would rather spend three days on a lesson that will help students understand a concept than spend one 40 minute lesson that students will learn but not remember after a few months. Unfortunately, this is more of a dream than a reality. Now the pressures to have teachers teach as much material as possible during the day means students learn the material rather than understand it.

    Fortunately, we can try to make each lesson memorable so that students are able to understand the material and store it to be used in future learning.

    Bibliography

    -Holl , B. (2006). Bobs blog. Retrieved April 17, 2009, Web site: http://blog.readinga-z.com/bobs_blog/

    -Scholastic, Time management. Retrieved April 17, 2009, from Time Management Web site: http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4153

    -Wagner, K (2004). Time saving tips for teachers. Retrieved April 17, 2009, from Education Oasis Web site: http://www.educationoasis.com/resources/Articles/time_saving_tips.htm

  11. 1. Increased pressures on teachers “teaching” time, including planning and assessment time. How to fit science into 40 minutes periods?
    Many people think teaching is an 8 to 3 job. But teachers have many demands put on them both in and out of the classroom. Far more time is required of teachers than just “teaching” time. Planning also takes a great deal of time. Planning is the teacher’s guide to engage students in a lesson. Science lessons are a little bit more challenging because the lessons need to be inquiry based. Students must not only learn basic scientific concepts, but they must have a chance to use these concepts in writing, oral presentations, and other experiences. Assignments time such as writing assignments can take up to 20 minutes each to grade.
    Clearly, teachers need more time to be able to achieve all that is asked of them. This is why I have researched some good strategies to fit teaching sciences in 40 minute periods.
    Since this will be a challenge we will all have to face.
    1. Organize Your Work
    The more organized you are the more you will be able to accomplish each day. You will not waste time looking for things. Some examples of organizational tools are using different color folders or bins. Examples: On your desk could be bins for “papers to grade”, “papers that are graded”, and “papers that need to be filed”. A file cabinet can be used to store lessons plans. Just think how much time you have just added to your day if you are not wasting time looking for things.
    2. Prioritize Your Time
    How you prioritize your time will determine how much you get done each day. Designate a time each day to prioritize your time for the day or the week if possible. The first step to prioritizing your time is to identify your highest priorities first. These are items that need your immediate attention. The second step is to schedule your highest priorities. Make sure the time scheduled is realistic. The key is to remember that a science lessons plan will almost always have to be scheduled for more than one 40 minute period.
    The third step is to schedule everything else in order of importances. Spend most of your time on things that are priority but also spend I little time on thing that are not high on the priority list. Instead of rushing to teach, plan and assess a lesson be productive by prioritizing what is most important and always plan ahead.
    When speaking to teachers about the increased pressure that is placed on them, they came up with some suggestions that they are using to decrease some of the time pressure.
    • Use your time in the morning for grading.
    • Use your prep time to work on lesson plans and avoid other teachers as much as possible during this time because they often gossip and that is a waste of time.
    • Lunch time can be used to relax or to grade or plan more lessons.
    • After students leave for the day use that time to prepare for the next days lessons by gather supplies.
    In conclusion the more carefully you plan your time the more efficient you will become. This will help you bring less work home, and will help you enjoy your job and your family more. Some teachers leave at 3 and never have to take work home with them while others are kicked out of the building at closing and still take work home. Learning how to organize your work and prioritize your time will help you keep up with your busy life as a teacher.

  12. My topic for reflection is “Preparing students for state exams while giving students a positive outlook of science”. This topic is pretty straight forward and includes many ideas that we discussed as a class throughout the semester. Science is a subject that young students can be easily turned off by if it isn’t an enjoyable experience. Once a student is turned off, it is hard to win them back. Now that I have had the opportunity to do some research on the topic I have found many effective strategies that will make science fun and give students a positive outlook on science.

    One idea that I found in my research was to create a game that includes the science content you are teaching you students with for the exam. “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” seems to be a popular template teachers use. It promotes healthy competition and also makes learning the content fun for the students so they aren’t turned off. Playing a game with the information varies instruction style and steers students away from the text and workbooks which students love. They get to interact with each other and brainstorm to get the correct answers.

    Another way to give students a positive outlook on science while preparing them for the state exams is by being enthusiastic about what you as the teacher are teaching them. A 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Leo, told me during an interview that enthusiasm goes a long way. If you are interested in what you are teaching they will be interested about what they are learning. Making your students enthusiastic about the content is vital and in most cases in the foundation to get students to retain the information for the exams. By being enthusiastic you will trigger your students natural curiosity which is the most important component of science. In turn they will ask more questions, want to collect their own data, and make their own experiments.

    Hands-on activities and manipulatives are also key when teaching science. It causes the students to forget they are preparing for the exam and to enjoy science for what it is … an inquiry process based on exploration. Promoting students to do experiments at home and to explore their surroundings away from the classroom is a good strategy to get students excited about science without overwhelming them with the state exams. If they are using science out of the classroom then it may not seem like homework.

    Implementing technology is another good strategy to teach state exam content. Teachers can use Virtual Field trips and webquests in order to make science fun. Getting the students on the computer will also help them learn the content. Students today learn more due to enhanced technology.

    As you can see all of these strategies would be extremely helpful to teach to the exam, as well as, giving the students a positive outlook on science itself. It does not have to be a chore, but can be made fun so that they learn creatively, but also are prepared for the exam.

  13. Kerry Wright EDU 7136
    Dr. Gillespie Reaction Paper X

    Task: Preparing students for the state exam while giving students a positive outlook of science.

    When we look at the responsibility of preparing students for state exams while at the same time keeping the students interested in science I think it is important to understand the role the state exam plays in our educational system. It is also important to understand to look at the pros and the cons associated with the state exam.

    At the present time, New York State requires that an exam in science be given in 4th and 8th grades. These tests have become a measure of accountability for schools. The tests serve as a report card to evaluate the school’s performance. With the implementation of these tests, there have been many controversial issues that have arisen.

    The state tests do give a way to measure the success or failure of our schools. With the frequent evaluation of tests, intervention can be applied to help failing school district before the students graduate. In this manner the students can helped before they leave school. State tests also provide a way for administrators to hold teachers accountable for the education of students. State tests are really the only means for us to evaluate our education system before students graduate.

    On the other hand, state tests can lead to some inefficiency in the schools. Some teachers have been criticized for teaching for the test and not giving students the complete education. The tests are only a snap shot of student’s ability and education. The ability of students can be undervalued or overvalued with the tests. Some students may be poor test takers and the test does not give students to opportunity to show their abilities in our ways as in the classroom.

    Weather you believe the state test are good or bad, the reality is that the test are required and they are not going away. As teachers we need to be aware of this reality and work within the constrictions. I feel it is a difficult task to work with the state test requirements and make science interesting for our students. However, I think it can be done.

    I think first teachers should review previous state tests to get a feel for the topics covered on the tests. Then, outline a schedule for the year to cover the topics in school. Next teachers could make lesson plans around the topics on the test. As discussed in class throughout this semester, the most effective lessons include an introduction hands on activities. There should also be discussions and applications to the lessons. The teacher could give students practice questions from previous tests in order to practice taking the test. Preparing our students for the state tests should be on going task from grade to grade and not just covered the years of the test.

    Teaching our students is a way that keeps the students engaged and at the same time prepares them for state exams is a difficult task. However, with careful research and planning this task can be accomplished.

  14. The Reflection I picked to discuss is: Lack of institutional commitment to science: Expenses, storage, and choice of materials. Many teachers unfortunatly experience this hardship however, there are some ways you could try to solve this problem.

    For example, science materials are extremely expensive, so what could you do ask at teacher to solve this problem. You could sign=up for grants, collect BoxTops and Campbell Soup labels, hold fundraisers, donations from student and parents, enter contests, go to professional development classes and attend workshops. Besides doing this you could also join different Science teacher organizations like NSTA and MFTA, use your stipend, collect bonus points from scholastic, go on virtual trips, and ask and borrow from other teachers. There are so many ways you could solve this problem with expenses, all you need to do is research to find what you need.

    The next problem was where can we store all of our science equipment once we get it. The most important thing with storing anything at school is that it must be labeled and organized. Here are some ways a teacher could solve this problem: find a common room where all the teachers could store their supplies, use seat pockets, bookshelves, movable carts, crates, baskets, cardboard boxes, plastic bins, classroom closets, plastic jars, pants hangers, egg cartons, Ziploc bags, paper bags, and most food containers. All of these items are great to use for storing the science materials you have just bought. If you are unable to bring in all of these things, try asking parents and local stores to help you out.
    The final problem was trying to figure out what materials you will need to buy for your Science classroom. As a teacher, you receive a curriculum guide explaining all of the topics you need to cover during the school years, so you should base what you need to buy with that guide. The most important thing you may need is protective gear to keep your students safe. The following items may be different for every teacher because of what they must teach throughout the school year: trays, cameras, magnifiers, microscopes, transparencies, science kits, models, slides, computer programs, scales, tweezers, charts, posters, Science library, DVDs and CDs, state test kit, and any household products that will help you conduct an experiment.

    In conclusion there are many ways to solve the problem with expenses, storage, and materials. When I start teaching science again, I will definitely use some of these ideas in my classroom.

    References:

    http://www.mfta.org :Materials for the Arts
    http://www.nsta.org :National Science Teacher Association
    http://www.field-guides.com/trips.htm :Tramline Trips
    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions :National Geographic Virtual Trips
    http://www.nasa.gov :NASA Virtual Trips
    http://www.pbs.org :Science Activities
    http://dsc.discovery.com :Science Activities
    http://www.boxtops4education.com :Box Tops
    http://www.labelsforeducation.com :Campbell Soup Labels
    http://catalog.scholastic.com :Scholastic Bonus Points
    http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/instructor/index.htm :Instructor Magazine
    http://www.scholastic.com/freeprograms/ :Scholastic Contests
    http://www.dom.com : Dominion Peoples Funds K-12 Math & Science (Grant)
    http://www.web.mit.edu/invent/www/inventeam/info.html : InvenTeams Fund Teacher-Student Technology Teams (Grant)
    http://www.nsf.gov/pubsys/ods/getpub.cfm?nsf03550 : Teachers could share $20 Million for Science and Technology (Grant)

  15. The Reflection I picked to discuss is: Lack of institutional commitment to science: Expenses, storage, and choice of materials. Many teachers unfortunatly experience this hardship however, there are some ways you could try to solve this problem.

    For example, science materials are extremely expensive, so what could you do ask at teacher to solve this problem. You could sign=up for grants, collect BoxTops and Campbell Soup labels, hold fundraisers, donations from student and parents, enter contests, go to professional development classes and attend workshops. Besides doing this you could also join different Science teacher organizations like NSTA and MFTA, use your stipend, collect bonus points from scholastic, go on virtual trips, and ask and borrow from other teachers. There are so many ways you could solve this problem with expenses, all you need to do is research to find what you need.

    The next problem was where can we store all of our science equipment once we get it. The most important thing with storing anything at school is that it must be labeled and organized. Here are some ways a teacher could solve this problem: find a common room where all the teachers could store their supplies, use seat pockets, bookshelves, movable carts, crates, baskets, cardboard boxes, plastic bins, classroom closets, plastic jars, pants hangers, egg cartons, Ziploc bags, paper bags, and most food containers. All of these items are great to use for storing the science materials you have just bought. If you are unable to bring in all of these things, try asking parents and local stores to help you out.
    The final problem was trying to figure out what materials you will need to buy for your Science classroom. As a teacher, you receive a curriculum guide explaining all of the topics you need to cover during the school years, so you should base what you need to buy with that guide. The most important thing you may need is protective gear to keep your students safe. The following items may be different for every teacher because of what they must teach throughout the school year: trays, cameras, magnifiers, microscopes, transparencies, science kits, models, slides, computer programs, scales, tweezers, charts, posters, Science library, DVDs and CDs, state test kit, and any household products that will help you conduct an experiment.
    In conclusion there are many ways to solve the problem with expenses, storage, and materials. When I start teaching science again, I will definitely use some of these ideas in my classroom.

    References:
    http://www.mfta.org :Materials for the Arts
    http://www.nsta.org :National Science Teacher Association
    http://www.field-guides.com/trips.htm :Tramline Trips
    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions :National Geographic Virtual Trips
    http://www.nasa.gov :NASA Virtual Trips
    http://www.pbs.org :Science Activities
    http://dsc.discovery.com :Science Activities
    http://www.boxtops4education.com :Box Tops
    http://www.labelsforeducation.com :Campbell Soup Labels
    http://catalog.scholastic.com :Scholastic Bonus Points
    http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/instructor/index.htm :Instructor Magazine
    http://www.scholastic.com/freeprograms/ :Scholastic Contests
    http://www.dom.com : Dominion Peoples Funds K-12 Math & Science (Grant)
    http://www.web.mit.edu/invent/www/inventeam/info.html : InvenTeams Fund Teacher-Student Technology Teams (Grant)
    http://www.nsf.gov/pubsys/ods/getpub.cfm?nsf03550 : Teachers could share $20 Million for Science and Technology (Grant)

  16. The Reflection I picked to discuss is: Lack of institutional commitment to science: Expenses, storage, and choice of materials. Many teachers unfortunatly experience this hardship however, there are some ways you could try to solve this problem.
    For example, science materials are extremely expensive, so what could you do ask at teacher to solve this problem. You could sign=up for grants, collect BoxTops and Campbell Soup labels, hold fundraisers, donations from student and parents, enter contests, go to professional development classes and attend workshops. Besides doing this you could also join different Science teacher organizations like NSTA and MFTA, use your stipend, collect bonus points from scholastic, go on virtual trips, and ask and borrow from other teachers. There are so many ways you could solve this problem with expenses, all you need to do is research to find what you need.
    The next problem was where can we store all of our science equipment once we get it. The most important thing with storing anything at school is that it must be labeled and organized. Here are some ways a teacher could solve this problem: find a common room where all the teachers could store their supplies, use seat pockets, bookshelves, movable carts, crates, baskets, cardboard boxes, plastic bins, classroom closets, plastic jars, pants hangers, egg cartons, Ziploc bags, paper bags, and most food containers. All of these items are great to use for storing the science materials you have just bought. If you are unable to bring in all of these things, try asking parents and local stores to help you out.
    The final problem was trying to figure out what materials you will need to buy for your Science classroom. As a teacher, you receive a curriculum guide explaining all of the topics you need to cover during the school years, so you should base what you need to buy with that guide. The most important thing you may need is protective gear to keep your students safe. The following items may be different for every teacher because of what they must teach throughout the school year: trays, cameras, magnifiers, microscopes, transparencies, science kits, models, slides, computer programs, scales, tweezers, charts, posters, Science library, DVDs and CDs, state test kit, and any household products that will help you conduct an experiment.
    In conclusion there are many ways to solve the problem with expenses, storage, and materials. When I start teaching science again, I will definitely use some of these ideas in my classroom.
    References:
    http://www.mfta.org :Materials for the Arts
    http://www.nsta.org :National Science Teacher Association
    http://www.field-guides.com/trips.htm :Tramline Trips
    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions :National Geographic Virtual Trips
    http://www.nasa.gov :NASA Virtual Trips
    http://www.pbs.org :Science Activities
    http://dsc.discovery.com :Science Activities
    http://www.boxtops4education.com :Box Tops
    http://www.labelsforeducation.com :Campbell Soup Labels
    http://catalog.scholastic.com :Scholastic Bonus Points
    http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/instructor/index.htm :Instructor Magazine
    http://www.scholastic.com/freeprograms/ :Scholastic Contests
    http://www.dom.com : Dominion Peoples Funds K-12 Math & Science (Grant)
    http://www.web.mit.edu/invent/www/inventeam/info.html : InvenTeams Fund Teacher-Student Technology Teams (Grant)
    http://www.nsf.gov/pubsys/ods/getpub.cfm?nsf03550 : Teachers could share $20 Million for Science and Technology (Grant)

  17. The Reflection I picked to discuss is: Lack of institutional commitment to science: Expenses, storage, and choice of materials. Many teachers unfortunatly experience this hardship however, there are some ways you could try to solve this problem.
    For example, science materials are extremely expensive, so what could you do ask at teacher to solve this problem. You could sign=up for grants, collect BoxTops and Campbell Soup labels, hold fundraisers, donations from student and parents, enter contests, go to professional development classes and attend workshops. Besides doing this you could also join different Science teacher organizations like NSTA and MFTA, use your stipend, collect bonus points from scholastic, go on virtual trips, and ask and borrow from other teachers. There are so many ways you could solve this problem with expenses, all you need to do is research to find what you need.
    The next problem was where can we store all of our science equipment once we get it. The most important thing with storing anything at school is that it must be labeled and organized. Here are some ways a teacher could solve this problem: find a common room where all the teachers could store their supplies, use seat pockets, bookshelves, movable carts, crates, baskets, cardboard boxes, plastic bins, classroom closets, plastic jars, pants hangers, egg cartons, Ziploc bags, paper bags, and most food containers. All of these items are great to use for storing the science materials you have just bought. If you are unable to bring in all of these things, try asking parents and local stores to help you out.
    The final problem was trying to figure out what materials you will need to buy for your Science classroom. As a teacher, you receive a curriculum guide explaining all of the topics you need to cover during the school years, so you should base what you need to buy with that guide. The most important thing you may need is protective gear to keep your students safe. The following items may be different for every teacher because of what they must teach throughout the school year: trays, cameras, magnifiers, microscopes, transparencies, science kits, models, slides, computer programs, scales, tweezers, charts, posters, Science library, DVDs and CDs, state test kit, and any household products that will help you conduct an experiment.
    In conclusion there are many ways to solve the problem with expenses, storage, and materials. When I start teaching science again, I will definitely use some of these ideas in my classroom.
    References:
    http://www.mfta.org :Materials for the Arts
    http://www.nsta.org :National Science Teacher Association
    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions :National Geographic Virtual Trips
    http://www.nasa.gov :NASA Virtual Trips
    http://www.boxtops4education.com :Box Tops
    http://www.scholastic.com/freeprograms/ :Scholastic Contests
    http://www.dom.com : Dominion Peoples Funds K-12 Math & Science (Grant)
    http://www.web.mit.edu/invent/www/inventeam/info.html : InvenTeams Fund Teacher-Student Technology Teams (Grant)
    http://www.nsf.gov/pubsys/ods/getpub.cfm?nsf03550 : Teachers could share $20 Million for Science and Technology (Grant)

  18. One of the problems science teachers may have is the lack of institutional commitment to science. This includes expenses, storage and choice of materials. How can we solve these problems?
    There are many ways that science teachers could save or not spend as much money. Here is a list of ways:
    Grants – Grants are educational opportunities that could help a classroom economically or help in gaining technological equipment for the classroom. The teacher would have to check to see if the class is eligible to apply for the grant.
    Box Tops/ Campbell Soup Labels – These labels are placed on General Mills, Betty Crocker, Ziploc, Kleenex, Campbell, Swanson and V8 products. The teacher could have all the children in the school help in clipping these coupons off of these products. Each coupon is worth 10 cents. With these proofs of purchases you can get free educational equipment.
    Fundraisers – The school could have bake sales or luncheons to help raise money for of the science materials.
    Contests – There are many different contests that students could apply for, that are science geared and their prizes are science based. Again the teacher would first need to make sure the class is eligible to apply.
    Children bring in supplies – Another way to get certain items is to have students bring them in. You can assign a class to bring in items such as paper towels, Ziploc bags, plastic jars or any household item.
    Professional Development Classes – These are classes where teachers “mentor” other teachers to increase their skills. At these classes the teachers provide inexpensive resources and materials that could be used in the classroom.
    Workshops – These classes help keep teachers up to pace with the latest science research, engage them in standard based classroom activities and explore ways to make science fun. At these workshops teachers are also provide with inexpensive resources.
    National Science Teacher Association – When you become a member of the NSTA you receive member discounts on their products. These products could include books, journals and equipment.
    Hand me downs – If you know of a teacher retiring you could ask for the things the teacher will not be taking home with them. The great thing about science is that you can use almost anything in science.
    Donations – Materials for the Arts is an organization that donates from local companies and distributes them to the public. It is offered to teachers. Teachers just need to spend the time and go and pick the things they may need.
    Stipend – Teachers are offered about $50-$150 in the beginning of the school year to spend on school supplies. The money depends on the budget of the school (just hold onto your receipts).
    Bonus points – When students buy books from Scholastic Books Clubs the teacher receives bonus points. Each book has a different point value. The teacher could then use these bonus points to get free science products.
    Virtual Trips – Teachers have a new way of taking students on a trip. Virtual trips allow classes to go to places they may never be able to go, like the Amazon Rainforest or watching a volcano erupt.
    Borrowing – Teachers could borrow supplies and materials from other teachers. Borrowing art supplies from the art teacher would be helpful since anything could be used in a science classroom.
    What can we do for storage? Here is a list of ideas:
    Common room – Some schools have a common room that teachers could store supplies in that is away from the classroom and students but close enough to be able to get a few things. This would be great place to store chemicals.
    Seat pockets – These are pockets that hang behind a student’s chair. The pocket provides children extra room to put their personal things in during an experiment. It can also be a place where a teacher could store the things a child would need for the day. This could also be made with a spandex materials and someone who knows how to sew.
    Book shelves – This is a great place to store not only books, but any supplies that students would need and could be able to get on their own. These materials could be placed into baskets or clear bins.
    Movable carts –This comes in handy if you are a teacher who goes from room to room. It is also great to use if you are sharing supplies with another teacher. The cart also allows the teacher to move something heavy from group to group.
    Crates – These are great storing materials. They are sturdy, stackable and have handles. You can get them from the milk companies when they drop off the milk at the school.
    Plastic storage bins – If clearly labeled and well organized, they are the most convenient storage. They are clear and make it easier to see what is inside and they are stackable.
    Classroom closets – Every teacher has a storage closet, as long as the teacher is organized and has placed thing together by themes, then the closet could fit a lot of supplies.
    Other containers that could be used are shoe boxes, shirt boxes, deli containers, Chinese food containers, plastic jars, etc.
    Pants hangers –You can store posters onto pants hangers and hang them in your closet or behind the door. This is a great space saver.
    What type of materials does a science teacher need? A science teacher needs many things. These materials could be passed down from the teacher before, bought or donated. Here a list of a few things:
    – Protective gear (gloves, lab coat, goggles) – trays
    – Cameras – magnifiers
    – Microscopes – transparencies
    – Science models and kits – slides
    – Computer programs – scales
    – Tweezers – charts
    – Science Library – posters
    – DVD/ CD – household items
    When I was researching my problem, I was very shocked to see the many different ways a teacher could deal with expenses. I am sure I only touched the surface. As for storage, it is pretty simple, if you are a well organized person, your storage will not be a big problem. The materials a science teacher would need are endless, but as long as the teacher is on the lookout for deals or household items, then I am sure that they will always manage. I hope this helped.

  19. Preparing students for state exams while giving students a positive outlook of science

    Science is a subject that should be fun, exciting and interesting; because it is all around us, hence it is the teacher’s responsibility to let students know that science is very important, because everything we do, we are engaging in some scientific activities. However, it can also be a complex subject, if the teacher does not know the proper way to teach it so that their students can understand.

    It can also be very challenging, as the teachers have to adhere to the state standards and develop activities that will encourage the students to think critically and develop outcomes for their work. Teachers also have to develop different strategies and ways in incorporating different scientific ideas, for different types of students.

    Developing lesson plans to accommodate the different types of students in the classroom, is very challenging for teachers when preparing students for exams, since every student is different and learn in different ways. Hence, the teacher will have to know the students well and develop strategies that will incorporate every learner, which gives them a chance to learn and adapt. A good way to go about this is to place students in groups where everyone takes the responsibility for their own classmates learning, in other words, students who are fast learners will be placed in groups with the ones that are much slower and will therefore help them in comprehending the materials taught in the classroom.

    The time factor can be another problem, since teachers does not have ample time to teach their students the different areas in science, however, what teachers should take into consideration, is the importance of the subject areas, hence, they will have to prioritize their time effectively, and to spend most of their time on hands-on activities and experiment and less time on the information process.

    I have seen on my observations where teachers are teaching their students and complaining on how they do not have enough time to complete their task. The time spent complaining will be a very good time to spend on either introducing the topic or conducting an experiment and giving students all the information they need to develop the outcome. Time is limited, but as long as the teachers know how to prioritize their time and to impart their knowledge effectively, students will be able to grasp the content essentially.

    Innovative use of technology (hardware, software, websites and web quests) is another strategy teachers could use to make since fun and to help students to understand the science content and to prepare them for state exams. There are so many websites with interesting and informative games and information that teachers could use to help their students to have fun in learning the different scientific ideas. Technology has becoming a very important aspect of the schools curriculum. Hence, having the students accessing the internet to engage and explore the different concepts of science is another good example in helping them to learn the content, and to develop ideas in conducting a research.

    Hands-on activity is a key factor in teaching science. As it helps the students to retain the information imparted to them, in order to help them to prepare for exams. Since it is not something that they have to read consistently to remember, but something that was conducted hands-on, and would therefore help them to recall and explain the information, when given a question that involves the experiment that was conducted.

    These are a few suggestions on how teachers could go about teaching their students science and preparing them for state exams while giving them a positive outlook on science which should be fun and exciting to teach and learn.

  20. The Reflection I picked to discuss is: Lack of institutional commitment to science: Expenses, storage, and choice of materials. Many teachers unfortunatly experience this hardship however, there are some ways you could try to solve this problem.

    For example, science materials are extremely expensive, so what could you do ask at teacher to solve this problem. You could sign=up for grants, collect BoxTops and Campbell Soup labels, hold fundraisers, donations from student and parents, enter contests, go to professional development classes and attend workshops. Besides doing this you could also join different Science teacher organizations like NSTA and MFTA, use your stipend, collect bonus points from scholastic, go on virtual trips, and ask and borrow from other teachers. There are so many ways you could solve this problem with expenses, all you need to do is research to find what you need.

    The next problem was where can we store all of our science equipment once we get it. The most important thing with storing anything at school is that it must be labeled and organized. Here are some ways a teacher could solve this problem: find a common room where all the teachers could store their supplies, use seat pockets, bookshelves, movable carts, crates, baskets, cardboard boxes, plastic bins, classroom closets, plastic jars, pants hangers, egg cartons, Ziploc bags, paper bags, and most food containers. All of these items are great to use for storing the science materials you have just bought. If you are unable to bring in all of these things, try asking parents and local stores to help you out.
    The final problem was trying to figure out what materials you will need to buy for your Science classroom. As a teacher, you receive a curriculum guide explaining all of the topics you need to cover during the school years, so you should base what you need to buy with that guide. The most important thing you may need is protective gear to keep your students safe. The following items may be different for every teacher because of what they must teach throughout the school year: trays, cameras, magnifiers, microscopes, transparencies, science kits, models, slides, computer programs, scales, tweezers, charts, posters, Science library, DVDs and CDs, state test kit, and any household products that will help you conduct an experiment.

    In conclusion there are many ways to solve the problem with expenses, storage, and materials. When I start teaching science again, I will definitely use some of these ideas in my classroom.

  21. Good Websites:

    •www.mfta.org :Materials for the Arts
    •http://www.nsta.org :National Science Teacher Association
    •www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions :National Geographic Virtual Trips
    •www.nasa.gov :NASA Virtual Trips
    •http://www.boxtops4education.com :Box Tops
    •http://www.scholastic.com/freeprograms/ :Scholastic Contests
    •www.dom.com : Dominion Peoples Funds K-12 Math & Science (Grant)
    •www.web.mit.edu/invent/www/inventeam/info.html : InvenTeams Fund Teacher-Student Technology Teams (Grant)

  22. As teachers we should be mindful of our students’ abilities and what they are capable to comprehend. This is essential especially when it comes to English Language Proficiency. Science has many jargon and as teachers prepare lesson plans,they should tailor lessons to meet students limited language skills.
    Another factor teachers should be aware of is student’s reading ability. Class activities should be developed to meet all studen’t reading abilities. Teacher’s should also have modifications when neccessary inorder to be able to meet all student’s needs within theri respective classrooms.
    Something that I also find to be key is balance between

  23. My reflection is on how to tailor class plans, activities, and scientific language for students who have varying ages, and skills.

    As teachers we should be mindful of our students’ abilities and what they are capable to comprehend. This is essential especially when it comes to English Language Proficiency. Science has many jargon and as teachers prepare lesson plans,they should tailor lessons to meet students limited language skills.

    Another factor teachers should be aware of is student’s reading ability. Class activities should be developed to meet all studen’t reading abilities. Teacher’s should also have modifications when neccessary inorder to be able to meet all student’s needs within theri respective classrooms.
    Something that I also find to be key is balance betweenselection of instructional materials. Teachers should provide opportunities for students’ input into their own learning. Most students are more engaged when they are involved in their learning. This is important in science, students need to explore and enjoy their learning.
    Another strategy teachers can employ is use of hands on activities (experiments), debates, technology,presentations, journal entries, and learning centers. These are techniques that foster learning on all levels for all students with varying skills.
    In conclusion, as teachers we should put into consideration our students’ experiences(learning, family, and cultural background) they all play a role in our student’s learning so we need to be aware of these for they come in handy when teaching.

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