The Science Teacher

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

Articles from Vol. 78, No. 4, April-May

Active Learning Strategies: The Top 10: 10 Strategies to Help Students Overcome Their Naive Conceptions of Science
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Conceptual change instruction recognizes that students bring personal, or naive, conceptions to the classroom, which they use to explain their world, interpret situations, and create meaning (Driver et al. 2007). But what...
Celebrating Serendipity: Connecting Chemistry and History
In today's world of social media websites and Web 2.0, people are connected like never before. Why not use these web tools in the science classroom? The American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) Benchmarks for Science Literacy call...
Fire and Ecological Disturbance: A 5E Lesson to Address an Important Misconception
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows." --Ausubel 1968, p. iv When considering this statement through the lens of constructivism, the significance of misconceptions...
Flowing Magma
In 2009, geologists drilling an exploratory geothermal well in the Krafla volcano in Iceland encountered a problem they were simply unprepared for: magma (i.e., molten rock or lava underground) that flowed unexpectedly into the well at 2.1 km depth,...
From Misconceptions to Conceptual Change: Tips for Identifying and Overcoming Students' Misconceptions
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] We all have misconceptions about the world in which we live--how it works, how we interact with it, how it changes, and the reasons behind those changes. These misunderstandings are personal notions we create to make meaning...
Get in the Game with Team Density: Using Sports Balls to Confront Students' Naive Conceptions about Density
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] A floating bowling ball? No way! There is no better way to get students' attention and reinforce the need for conceptual understanding than with a discrepant event like this. Density is a central concept in chemistry and physical...
Graphene Superconductor Functions
Illinois researchers have documented the first observations of some unusual physics when two prominent electric materials are connected: superconductors and graphene. Led by University of Illinois physics professor Nadya Mason, the group published...
Health Wise
Q Are plastic water bottles safe to drink from and reuse repeatedly? A This is something I've often wondered myself. Is it okay to hang on to that bottle of water I bought at the gym, refill it, and reuse it? Should I be using one of those snazzy...
Invasive Plants
A team of Pennsylvania State University scientists has discovered that human-introduced, invasive species of plants can have positive ecological effects. Tomas Carlo, an assistant professor of biology, and Jason Gleditsch, a graduate student, are...
Killer Mice
The risk of deadly human hantavirus outbreaks can be predicted months ahead of time by using satellite images to monitor surges in vegetation that boost mouse populations, a University of Utah study says. The method might also forecast outbreaks of...
Live Animals and Dissection
In March 2008, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) revised its position statement on live animals and dissection. This statement, Responsible Use of Live Animals and Dissection in the Science Classroom, emphasizes the role of student interaction...
Microwave Photons
A milestone toward the realization of a large-scale quantum computer, and further demonstration of a new level of the quantum control of light, were accomplished by a team of scientists at the University of California--Santa Barbara (UCSB) and in China...
Piloting New Ideas: The Brown-Bag Friday Seminar
One of the most exciting things about beginning a teaching career is developing your own ideas. Piloting new lessons is key to establishing a solid curriculum--though the process is often time-consuming and requires much reflection. To illustrate this...
Private Worlds
The classic video documentary A Private Universe has not lost its relevance in the 24 years since its release (Sadler, Schneps, and Woll 1987). The first part of the video, filmed on graduation day at Harvard University, reveals the scientific misconceptions...
Quest for Designer Bacteria
Scientists have discovered a molecular assistant called Spy that helps bacteria excel at producing proteins for medical and industrial purposes. Bacteria are widely used to manufacture proteins used in medicine and industry--but the bugs often bungle...
Rising Sea Levels
Rising sea levels could threaten an average 9% of land within 180 U.S. coastal cities by 2100, according to new research by University of Arizona (UA) scientists. The Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts could be particularly hard hit. Miami, New Orleans,...
Rock Redwoods
A few years ago, Chris Williams found a big tree on the grounds of an abandoned coal mine in Sutton, Alaska. It was 6 ft. (2 m) in diameter, stood more than 110 ft. (34 m) above the surrounding swamplands, and loved warm weather and steamy rain showers....
Stop-Motion Mitosis
Over the last few months, we have presented a variety of ways to use video in the science classroom. In this month's column, we share our interview with Kathy Cady, a biology teacher in Winneconne, Wisconsin, who uses stop-still video animation to...
Sweet Dimensions
... adapted from Metric Measuring #35 by TOPS Learning Systems 1. Fold two 3"x 5" index cards in the middle, and tape them to make 4 walls of a box. 2. How many dimensions can you measure using sugar cubes? [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] OBJECTIVE...
The Reasons for the Seasons: Using Temperature Data to Challenge Students' Misconceptions
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The moon can only be seen at night, electricity only comes from batteries, and dinosaurs and cavemen lived at the same time--these are just a few of the misconceptions students have about science (Phillips 1991). Though instructional...
Thick Disc of Older Stars
An international team of astronomers has identified a thick stellar disc in the Andromeda galaxy, the nearest large spiral galaxy to the Milky Way. The discovery of the thick disc, a major result from a five-year investigation, can help astronomers...
What's in Your Trash?
Each year, Americans generate 250 million tons of waste, recycle or compost about 33% of it, and dispose of most of the remainder in landfills (EPA 2009). Although recycling has increased in the United States since 1980 (EPA 2009), waste generation...
Wireless Technology
"Wireless communication is a one-way street. Over." Radio traffic can flow in only one direction at a time on a specific frequency, that's why pilots, air traffic controllers, walkie-talkie users, and emergency personnel use "over" when they take...
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