Repulsive electrostatic forces. Strong nuclear forces. Charged subatomic particles interacting with neutral subatomic particles. Stable nuclei contain a “magic” number of neutrons and protons, otherwise the nucleus will decay.
Students will act like they understand these terms by attempting to memorize the definitions, and all the explanations written down in class. And that’s the problem…students memorizing information and not actually learning the concepts. Subatomic particle interactions has always been a complicated concept for my students. I’ve done graphing, picture visuals, number analyzing, lots of stuff that is supposed to work. Yet it’s always a lower scoring portion on quizzes and tests.
Picture this: A perfectly planned investigation, no unusual chemicals to hunt down, eager students, no complaining, and all actively writing down their science thoughts……sound too good to be true? It is, but maybe not for the reasons you’re thinking.
Two weeks ago I wrote a post about introducing my students to 3-dimensional learning using the investigation “Reaction in a Bag.” Now that all my quizzes are graded I’ve decided to write the reflection over how my students did with 3D learning, the thoughts of my two teaching peers who taught this way for the very first time, and what’ll I’ll do better next time (and not just next year “next time”).
The shift to 3-dimensional learning in science education not only means teachers need help and time to adjust, so do our students! How do we ready our students for this change? What’s the best way to do this? I’m not sure but I’ll tell you how I’m going to do it. Before my classes start diving into chemistry concepts I’m going to have them do an investigation in which the focus will be developing the skills necessary for using science and engineering practices (SEPs) to explain crosscutting concepts (CCCs). This way when we begin chemistry concepts we have a reference point. The disciplinary core ideas in this investigation are (hopefully) review for my students (matter is made of particles and energy flows). To do this, I’m going to take an old lab (Reaction in a Bag) and refine it to fit my needs. You’ll find everything below!
This summer I was able to complete the most challenging professional development I have ever attended and it has transformed my teaching forever. Very rarely do I come across the opportunity to attend a PD that focuses on both instructional strategies and science so when my District was approached about attending this PD I was excited! BIG THANK YOU to OKC Public Schools for bringing this amazing opportunity to teachers in Oklahoma! My teacher friend (and fellow OKSci Leadership Alumni!) is trying to bring this PD to the Tulsa/North Eastern area and I truly hope she can. Science education is changing, not only in Oklahoma but all over the US. This change is going to be hard. Teachers are going to need help with this transition. PD, like the one I attended, is going to be an important part of this process. For teachers that can’t attend PD I hope blogs like mine can provide the support they need. While I’ve done a short review of Moulding’s book, “A Vision and Plan for Science Teaching and Learning,” this post is going to focus on a short description of 3-Dimensional Learning and my interview with Brett Moulding. My posts this summer will then focus more on the 3D framework and provide examples and other links for more information.