Ideas and information from NSTA's Summer K-12 journals

These issues are great additions to your summer reading list! Most of the lessons in these journals include a detailed chart connecting the lesson to the NGSS.

Science and Children – From Molecules to Organisms

The featured articles focus on developing a progression of learning for younger students.

  • Native Plants and Seeds, Oh My! – Using a plant found in the school garden (milkweed), this lesson includes several parts on the basics of plants and investigations with native plants. Photographs show students at work.
  • Who Is Your Champion? – With a focus on designs and models, students consider the question “What can we learn from plants and animals to help solve the problems we face in our lives?”
  • Stalk It Up to Integrated Learning – Plant parts as food is the basis for this set of learning activities.
  • Elementary Anatomy – Young students enjoy learning about themselves. This lesson for preschool students helps students learn about body parts they can’t see.

For more on the content that provides a context for these projects and strategies see the SciLinks topics Butterflies, Characteristics of Living Things, Factors Affecting Plant Growth, Invasive Species, Life Cycles, Plants as Food, Plants with Seeds, Seed Germination, Structure of Seed Plants.

Continue for Science Scope and The Science Teacher

Science Scope – Science and Engineering Practices

As you read the articles, take note of how the learning activities address science and engineering practices:

  1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  2. Developing and using models
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

For more on the content that provides a context for these projects and strategies see the SciLinks topics Biomedical Engineer, Cellular Respiration, Force of Gravity, Forces and Motion, Hydroponics, Newton’s Laws, Photosynthesis, Skeletal System.


The Science Teacher – Systems and Models

Students and parents often have a misconception of scientific models. The editor notes that “art projects, physical replicas, posters, and diagrams are not really scientific models, although they can be valuable learning experiences. ….a true model must be useful to explain natural phenomena and make predictions.”

  • Crafting a Masterpiece – The author shares his experiences in using the EQuIP rubric to redesign lessons.
  • Modeling DNA – Among other activities in this 5E lesson, students position their bodies to create a DNA model; they also use other materials to illustrate the structure and function of DNA.
  • Explaining Ramps With Models – The authors described how this approach to learning resulted in more in-depth understanding. They include design strategies and photographs to illustrate student work.
  • Computer-Aided Drug Design – Computers have enhanced the modeling process. Find out how students took on the role of “medicinal chemist” and used software simulations focused on cancer drugs to see the relationship between chemistry and biology.
  • Simulating Life – This article looks at the emerging field of biomodeling. Students use simple materials (e.g., dice) and mathematics to analyze and predict bacteria movement.
  • Connecting the Visible World With the Invisible – Throughout the year, students created and used particulate diagrams to represent their knowledge of elements, mixtures, and compounds.
  • Science 2.0: Soaring in a Digital Ecosystem – The authors describe a taxonomy of technology processes: substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition. The latter two are part of how technology can transform a classroom.
  • Focus on Physics: The Equilibrium Rule—A Personal Discovery – Here’s a refresher on the topic, with illustrations and examples.

For more on the content that provides a context for these projects and strategies see the SciLinks topics Acceleration, Balanced and Unbalanced Forces, Compounds, DNA Structure and Function, Elements, Equilibrium, Mixtures, Motion, Velocity

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