The Science Teacher

The monthly magazine of the National Science Teachers Association. Articles cover innovations in science and science teaching methods.

Articles from Vol. 79, No. 1, January

Adventure Therapist
An adventure therapist (AT) uses experiential activities--from backpacking to whitewater rafting--as psychotherapy or counseling. No day on the job is typical. On Monday, the AT might go rock climbing with a family trying to get over the loss of a...
Climbing the Pyramid: Helping Students Evaluate Science News Sources
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Melting polar ice caps, hydraulic fracturing, hominid discoveries, "faster than light" neutrinos--science is almost always in the news. But to be scientifically literate, students need to understand that not all news sources...
Core Ideas of Engineering and Technology: Understanding A Framework for K-12 Science Education
Last month, Rodger Bybee's article, "Scientific and Engineering Practices in K-12 Classrooms," provided an overview of Chapter 3 in A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (NRC 2011). Chapter 3 describes...
Creative and Technical Writing Activities That Demonstrate Students' Understanding of Science
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Say "science literacy" in a room full of science teachers, and a collective groan often rises, along with some grumbling about teaching language arts in science class and having to do "one more thing." But implementing activities...
Environmental Science Lab Reports
Experimental science would have reached a standstill long ago if experimenters hadn't kept precise laboratory reports. I demonstrate the importance of lab reports in my environmental science classes by helping students write reports that are clear,...
Environmental Sensitivity of Body Parts
Research by a team of Michigan State University scientists has shed new light on why some body parts are more sensitive to environmental change than others, work that could someday lead to better ways of treating a variety of diseases, including type...
Extinction of Neanderthals
Computational modeling that examines evidence of how hominin groups evolved culturally and biologically in response to climate change during the last Ice Age bears new insights into the extinction of Neanderthals. Details of the complex modeling experiments,...
Flexible, Transparent Electrodes
As the market for liquid crystal displays and other electronics continues to drive up the price of indium--used to make the indium tin oxide (ITO) transparent electrodes in these devices--scientists have been searching for a cheaper and more dynamic...
Galaxies' Secrets
New, high-precision equipment orbiting Earth aboard the Hubble Space Telescope is now sending such rich data to astronomers, some feel they are crossing the final frontier toward understanding galaxy evolution, says Todd Tripp, leader of the team at...
Mobius Strip
... adapted from MATH LAB #07 by TOPS Learning Systems 1. Cut 1 meter of adding machine tape with neat, square ends. Hold the ends together to make a closed loop. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 2. Turn one end over to make a half twist, and tape the...
Near-Infrared Glow
Materials that emit visible light after being exposed to sunlight are commonplace and can be found in everything from emergency signage to glow-in-the-dark stickers. But until now, scientists have had little success creating materials that emit light...
Probing Cell Mechanics
Researchers are making progress in developing a system that measures the mechanical properties of living cells, a technology that could be used to diagnose human disease and better understand biological processes. The research team used an instrument...
Reading to Learn: Helping Students Comprehend Readings in Science Class
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Science teachers expect high school students to know how to read, understand, and learn from texts at the core of the curriculum. But though students learn to read in grade school, many don't know how to "read to learn" science....
Reading, Writing, and Physics
Like many schools across the country, the high school where I teach has been pushing for increased reading and writing in all classes. By the end of my first year of teaching physics, I found a way to incorporate these literacy skills while addressing...
Reading, Writing, and Science
Reading and writing have always been fundamental to science--for scientists, teachers, and students alike. But authors of science textbooks often overlook the importance of reading and writing. When describing the "scientific method," they almost always...
Safety in Uncharted Waters
Many science students want to go beyond the charted curriculum waters of comprehensive or specialized high schools. In response, for the past few decades, schools have provided on- and off-campus independent study programs. The self-designed programs...
Science Journalism: Students Learn Lifelong Science Literacy Skills by Reporting the News
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Imagine the lives of Jane and John 15 years after graduating from high school. Jane's daughter suffers from severe allergies, having tried various diets and medications. Her church building committee wonders how much to invest...
Squid Mystery
Marine biologist William Gilly spent a month last summer in Mexico's Sea of Cortez--one of the biologically richest marine environments in the world--tracking the sometimes-elusive Humboldt squid. Gilly is in the second year of a quest to understand...
The Dreaded (Sometimes Delightful) Parent Phone Call
Making phone calls to parents can be uncomfortable for even the most seasoned teacher, but it's an important part of the job. If you haven't had to call a parent yet this year, chances are you will-several times. Younger teachers, more than older ones,...
The Way They Want to Learn: U Sing Technology to Build Students' Literacy across the Science Disciplines
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Teens love to spend time on Facebook, search YouTube, tweet, text, and play online games. Some spend their free time actively creating and mashing up text, images, audio, and video. Then they come to school, and are, as one...
Using Online Data
The National Research Council's A Framework for K--12 Science Education (NRC 2011) provides a comprehensive characterization of the content and skills that students should master before they graduate from high school. The Framework defines eight practices...