OUR JOURNAL

Our full collection of timely, relevant, and practical resources for the science classroom.

#22 – 4 Steps to Helping Students Better Interpret Graphs

Do your students have trouble coming up with conclusions to a lab experiment? It may be because your students struggle to interpret graphs.. Results from REAL Science Challenge Vol 2 Contest 1 support this claim. According to test results, about 40% of grade 8 and 9 students cannot correctly draw a conclusion from a graph…

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#21 – How to develop a good CER rubric (hint: student participation needed!)

How do I mark CER (Claim Evidence Reasoning) statements? That’s probably a big question you have if you currently use or plan to use CER in your classroom. Other questions may include, ‘Is there a CER rubric?” and “If so, what are some good CER rubrics?” The short answer is that, yes, there is a…

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#20 – How we use Chocolate Milk and TV Snacking as CER practice examples (note: real science examples!)

Do you know about the Four Stages of Competence? One of its claims is that getting better at a skill (to go from “conscious” to “unconscious competence”) requires practice. Of course, this is nothing new. To get better at sports, reading, writing, or arithmetic requires practice to hone the craft. Using CER – Claim, Evidence,…

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#19 – One Awesome Way to Write a Unit Plan in one morning (note: no textbook needed)

After teaching for 13 years, this year, I finally need to write a unit plan (it’s been a while!). Of course, it is possible not to write a unit plan at all. Some may ask, “why don’t you just follow the textbook?” Or, “why don’t you just buy something off teachers-pay-teachers dot com instead of…

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#18 – How Redesigning a Face Mask can teach Biology (and student empathy too!)

Teaching arts and sciences together can make science more applicable and exciting. That is one of the suggestions in the article My Wish List for University Science Education published on Medium.com. At its core, the article suggests ways in which we can alter university science education to make it reach more learners, to show more…

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#17 – How We Use Gift Cards for an engaging KMT activity (and teach Sustainability too!)

How can I make an abstract concept – one where I may not be able to look at close up – engaging and applicable? For example, the kinetic molecular theory (KMT) is one of the most important concepts for high school students to learn. Demos like adding food colouring to hot and cold water or…

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#16 – How to stay organized: Our paper organizer hack (no special tools needed)

The running joke regarding my classroom is that it’s a fire hazard. Sure, at the start of the year, the countertops are all clear and clean. But, by the end of term (and especially by the end of the year), assignments, test papers, extra handouts, and student projects lay all over the countertop and each…

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#15 – An Awesome Density Lab Fresh from the Oven (hint: Baking is involved!)

Density is an awesome property of matter. Density can help identify unknown materials (circa Archimedes and the Gold crown). Differences in density determine the relative position of objects (ie. Which objects sink and which objects float). Unfortunately, students too often learn that density is just a formula. A calculation. That it’s not applicable to the…

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#14 – Does Water Immersion improve exercise recovery? (Our quiz to practice some science skills)

What are some science skills students need to know how to do? I can sum it up in one statement: we want students to be able to think (and do) like a scientist. Therefore, science students need to know how to design and run experiments, collect and analyze data, draw conclusions and defend them. (Refer…

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#13 – How we use a 30cm ruler to check student understanding (in unit conversions)

As a teacher, it’s important for me to check student understanding, to know how a student is getting an answer to a question. For a student to just get an answer to a question is not enough. What if the answer is wrong? How, then, can I help the student if I don’t even know…

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