Category Archive for: Strategies

#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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#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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#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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#12 – Red Jellybeans are the best ones (and 10 other intro CER examples)

CER (Claim Evidence Reasoning) is an effective way for students to structure their conclusions by wrapping together their lab evidence and science reasoning. However, do you need a simple, low-barrier-to-entry example to intro CER (Claim Evidence Reasoning)? I do. Even though I have CER infographics from Blog 4 to show my students fun science CER…

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#7 – Our Top Science Video Activity (set up in less than 5 minutes!)

Using science videos is a great way to reinforce or illustrate a concept. But, making and marking the accompanying science video activity and/or worksheet is time consuming. Yes, there are tools out there that try to make this easier. Edpuzzle, Google Forms, and many other web apps allow teachers to embed questions into the videos…

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#5 – 5 Tips to Running Better Retests (hint: teachers don’t need to bend over backwards)

Giving students retests is a popular practice now, but how do teachers run better retests? And by better, I don’t just mean having students do better. I also mean making it easier and worthwhile for teachers to even give a retest.   One of the biggest problems when it comes to retesting is that students…

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