Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teacher's Lab
A Private Universe ProjectIn Class Activities
IntroductionWhat are Your Ideas?Discussion Forums
Earth Moon Activity
Moon Journal Activity

Additional Resources

This Lab begins with activities that are useful for teaching the phases of the Moon. The concepts underlying an understanding of this topic are straightforward. Each activity allows students to apply scientific understanding, to illustrate a specific concept, and to separate fact from misconception.

First, make these two important considerations when choosing activities to help clarify student ideas about any topic:

Be aware of the possible misconceptions people have in general about a particular topic and know what your students think through eliciting ideas (either through the student survey or by another technique of asking open-ended questions).

Be aware of all the concepts required for having a complete understanding of the topic.

Then, choose activities that help correct student misconceptions and develop the scientific concepts fully enough to replace the misconceptions.

Here are some guidelines on what to look for when selecting in-class activities. These arise from research which shows that students are more likely to learn science concepts when they

  • articulate and examine their private theories
  • make predictions based on these private theories
  • test their predictions through experimentation or observation
  • reexamine their beliefs in light of the results of their predictions
  • engage in hands-on activities that help make abstract concepts more concrete
  • work in cooperative groups that promote lively discussion and debate
  • learn from a teacher who acts as a facilitator instead of a "sage on the stage"
  • reflect on what they have experienced
  • engage in authentic assessment strategies that promote concept development and not the memorization of isolated facts

In discussion forums with your colleagues, exchange ideas on planning teaching sequences, adapting the in-class activities, and evaluating the results of your teaching.

Select the activity you would like to preview from the list at the top of the page.


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