By Carole Hayward
Posted on 2014-06-10
Incorporating science education in the classroom, especially at the elementary and middle levels, is challenging due to accreditation and assessment requirements, and an emphasis on meeting Common Core standards. NSTA member Carolyn Mohr, who teaches science methods to graduate education students, says that she is always searching for up-to-date, relevant resources to help her students weave science into curricula. Mohr says that her NSTA membership is a valuable resource for providing creative ways to infuse science into daily lessons.
Mohr: When I first became a member of NSTA, I subscribed to all of the journals. You couldn’t get them online then. I used the journal articles in my science methods courses and they were full of cross-curricular lesson plans.
Now I use the NSTA Learning Center as the e-textbook for my students. With the e-textbook, my students have access to all of the Learning Center Library resources including NSTA book chapters, SciPacks, and journal articles. As I became more familiar with the Learning Center, I started using the discussion forums and encouraged my students to do the same. They love being a part of such a large community of teachers and get so excited when teachers from all around the world respond to their questions and give them great ideas. I have my students hooked on what a wonderful resource the Learning Center is and will be as they continue their teaching careers. They can create their own connections, update their libraries, and all of that is accessible to them throughout their careers.
How have you used the Learning Center specifically to find interdisciplinary lesson ideas?
Mohr: There are a lot of math resources in the Learning Center. Because there is a strong connection between math and science, these lesson tips and ideas are really helpful. I still love having access to the journal articles. I’ve gotten a ton of ideas for my students in the journals. In addition, I point my students to the book chapters in the Learning Center. In particular, the Picture Perfect Science Lessons, which incorporate science and literacy, are amazing. The authors—Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan—provide lessons that combine trade books and inquiry. And, the lessons all follow the BSCS 5E Instructional Model.
“Name that Shell” is one of the Picture Perfect lessons I model in my classroom. Others include “How Big is a Foot?” and “That Magnetic Dog”. Each of the lessons emphasize literacy strategies such as listening, reading, and writing, and they are connected to the Common Core standards. I will model one of the 5E lessons for my preservice teachers so they can see what it looks like. They really enjoy being students and participating in the entire 5E process, and they get to see how I incorporate the different subjects into a lesson plan.
All of these resources have been incredibly helpful to both me and my students, especially now that the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been published. NSTA has provided much of our professional development on NGSS.
Not a member of NSTA? Learn more about how to join.
Jennifer Henderson is our guest blogger for this series. Before launching her freelance career as a writer/editor, Jennifer was Managing Editor of The Science Teacher, NSTA’s peer-reviewed journal for high school science teachers.
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