Science in Focus: Shedding Light: About This Workshop
Science provides one way of knowing about the mysteries and splendor of our natural world. Science is a unique collaboration between human perceptions and our ability to reason and build ideas. The concept of light is an appropriate starting point for building an understanding of science because it is through the interaction of light, our eyes, and our brain that we collect most of the information we have about the world.
This series uses light as a theme through which to explore topics in physics, chemistry, biology, and Earth and space science. Unlike most science content courses that approach subject matter through one narrow discipline, these workshops show how light is a common thread that runs through many areas of science. The workshops make connections to real world phenomena as they explore the behavior of light, the transformation of energy, and the role of light in plant production of food, weather and the seasons, and more.
What will you actually see? You will visit elementary classrooms where students are investigating light. You will observe teachers in academic settings studying light and its characteristics. Interviews with experts will further illuminate the topics of energy, human vision, and the Sun's effects on ecosystems, climate, and seasons.
The series emphasizes dynamic interaction with the science content through discussion, activities, and application of the ideas to teaching. The videos and supporting materials suggest many fascinating investigations for you and your students. You will be able to respond to questions such as: What is color? Do plants eat? What causes seasons? Where do winds come from? Where do they go? How does the eye see?
Support resources for the series are available in the form of a print guide and a Web site, as well as instructional ideas contained in the video programs. These resources include activities, lesson plans, assessments, links to other content, and strategies for using community resources. An ongoing activity that builds on the concepts presented throughout the series will be conducted across the eight workshops.
The concepts and activities in this series address the AAAS Benchmarks and the NRC National Science Education Standards with special attention to habits of mind and the history and nature of science. The series also serves as a model for teaching science to elementary teachers and, as such, may be beneficial for district inservice workshops. While the concepts and activities have been designed with the elementary teacher in mind, the materials are beneficial for any educator interested in learning science concepts and the nature of science.