Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Mastering Scientific Practices with Technology

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Mastering Scientific Practices with Technology

Article excerpt

The Next Generation Science Standards require students to engage in scientific and engineering practices. Technology tools can help incorporate these practices into the classroom. We describe some of these tools this month and will offer more in the next issue.

Asking questions and defining problems

Science often begins with a question. A good place for students to ask questions and gather evidence is on a Google form. We embed a Google form on the opening page of our websites for students to find. Consider using a URL shortener such as tinyurl ( or moourl ( to share a form. (Shorteners let you customize the URL, too.) You can post the URL on the classroom wall or at the bottom of all papers sent out to students and parents. This helps create a culture of "questioners." Award the best question of the week or use student questions to open classes.

To help students find answers to questions, promote using advanced searching tools, such as Google's search operators ( If school policy permits, let students speak questions aloud to Ask Google, Cortana, or Siri on their smartphones. Consider having your students make their own parody of a popular "Siri" commercial by asking their very own scientific questions and analyzing her response.

Encourage students to create blogs, where they can reflect on lessons, activities, and current events. You could start this off by asking students to watch science-related TV shows such as Big Bang Theory, CSI, Scorpion, or Cosmos and raising questions on their blogs about the accuracy of the science statements or events that appear. Blogs give students a chance to dialog with their peers.

Developing and using models

Models and simulations allow students to zoom in on the inner workings of an atom or cell, see inside a heat engine, and examine the behavior of planets and satellites in space. …

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