On the Web: Hard-To-Teach Science Concepts
The Learning Center
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The Learning Center has shared a custom collection <link to http://learningcenter.nsta.org/share.aspx?id=0Z7pwvcm3r> of resources relating to Hard-To-Teach Science Concepts. When you visit the site, you’ll be able to explore and add other NSTA resources as well as upload your own resources to create one central location for your professional development materials. Below is a sample of what is included.
- Energy: Energy Transformations
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the second of four Science Objects in the Energy SciPack. It provides a conceptual and real-world understanding of how energy is transferred, from object to object and from one form of energy to another. Although the various forms of energy appear different, each can be measured in a closed system. This makes it possible to keep track of how much of one form of energy is converted into another form.
Most of what goes on in the universe—from exploding stars and biological growth to the operation of machines and the motion of people—involves some form of energy being transformed into another form. The law of conservation of energy states that whenever the amount of energy in one place (or form) decreases, the amount of energy in other places (or forms) increases by the same amount.
- Cells and Chemical Reactions: Basics of Metabolism
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the first of four Science Objects in the Cells and Chemical Reactions SciPack. It investigates the basics of cellular metabolisms in plants and animals.
Chemical reactions occur in all cells, are fundamental to cell functions, and are essential to maintain the chemical and physical organization of living systems. All living organisms engage in metabolic processes that take place inside their cells. Metabolism refers to all of the chemical activities and reactions in cells and organisms that are necessary for life. Metabolic processes can be categorized into two types, which are distinguished by their function in growth and maintenance of living cells: synthesis, chemical reactions that use energy to synthesize large and complex carbon-based molecules from smaller molecules; decomposition, chemical reactions that release energy from chemical bonds by decomposing the large molecules into smaller, simpler and lower-energy molecules.
The energy released in decomposition is used to synthesize large molecules and in other cellular work, including: movement, maintenance and organization, transport of molecules, and transmission of nerve impulses. A large set of protein catalysts, called enzymes are required for both synthesis and decomposition chemical reactions. Because all matter tends toward disorganized states, constant input of energy is required by all cells to maintain chemical and physical organization. Without this organization, cells and organisms die, and with death (the cessation of energy input) living systems rapidly disintegrate.
- Force and Motion: Newton’s Third Law
Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the last of four Science Objects in the Force and Motion SciPack. It provides a conceptual and real-world understanding of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, addressing common misconceptions associated with this law. Whenever one object exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it. These equal and opposite forces are exerted simultaneously on the objects involved.
The NSTA Calendar lists the following opportunities relating to Hard-To-Teach Science Concepts. Click here to learn about other science education events and opportunities.
- BatsLIVE: A Distance Learning Adventure
This free program for children in grades 4–8 and their educators will bring bat conservation to life in the classroom or community. Participate in a web seminar for teachers, non-formal educators, and others on October 11 at 7–8:30 p.m. Join in citizen science activities involving bats, and connect with bat conservation organizations worldwide. The website offers lesson plans about bats for grades K–8.
The Freebies section of the NSTA website lists various free and inexpensive resources for you and your classroom. Below are listings that relate to Hard-To-Teach Science Concepts:
- Force and Motion Workshops
Annenberg Media has produced eight professional development workshops for K–8 teachers on force and motion: Making an Impact, Drag Races, When Rubber Meets the Road, On a Roll, Keep on Rolling, Force Against Force, The Lure of Magnetism, and Bend and Stretch. The workshops feature footage of real teachers in their classrooms and show students’ discoveries as they explore the relationships among motion, force, size, mass, and speed.
- ELL Lesson on Magnetism
In this YouTube clip, a second-grade teacher shares her experiences exploring magnetism with a group of English Language Learner (ELL) students. She discusses how teaching students to use the process of distinction—it IS or it ISN’T—is useful in helping students sort understandings and make meaning in science. While this lesson was conducted with ELLs, it can be used with all students.
- Growing Up WILD Resources
The Council of Environmental Education offers free resources for Growing Up WILD, a program aimed at building nature connections and school readiness skills in early childhood. The list features insects, plants, animals, and more. Resources for connecting young learners to the outdoors include categories such as Spider Web Wonders, Looking at Leaves, Lunch for a Bear, Ants on Parade, Terrific Turkeys, and Wiggling Worms.
- STOP for Science!
This building-wide science enrichment program features posters and questions that entice students to “stop for science.” Created jointly by a Harvard astrophysicist and an elementary school principal, each poster includes questions of various levels of difficulty to answer and submit for prizes at school. Themes include stars, light, and Newton’s Laws of Motion. Also available are accompanying teacher guides to incorporate poster content into the classroom.
Our panel of top-flight teachers and other outstanding science educators has designated the best available supplements for your science teaching. Read product reviews here.
The Early Years
Share your thoughts on how to teach young students science investigation skills in an age-appropriate manner on The Early Years Blog, NSTA’s online forum for early childhood educators.