Ideas and inspiration from NSTA’s December K-12 journals

Elementary and middle school teachers have a real gold mine this month – both journals have the theme of Energy.

Food for thought at any grade level–Commentary: Proactive Leadership in The Science Teacher describes what leadership should look like for teachers, departments, and administrators.

The Science Teacher — Bringing Research Into the Classroom

This issue goes beyond talking about research results to describe students actually doing authentic research—planning and carrying out investigations, generating and evaluating data, and developing explanations or designing solutions. The lessons described in the articles include connections with the NGSS.

  • Core Values includes several lessons in which students analyze and summarize data from an expedition in Siberia. The purpose is to see how scientists can reconstruct past climate records historically without having direct measurements.
  • Measuring CO2 illustrates an investigation in which students study greenhouse gas production from thawing permafrost.
  • In the interdisciplinary investigation, Turning Into Ice, students explore the concepts and processes of biological ice nucleation.
  • Modeling Chromosomes focuses on a 5E lesson in which students create models using strips of paper to demonstrate their understanding of genetic concepts.
  • Science 2.0: Developing the Knowledge Constructor describes four indicators showing that students can synthesize information from a variety of sources and resources into a representation of their knowledge.
  • Focus on Physics: How E = mc2 Helps Us Understand Nuclear Fission and Fusion describes how Einstein’s familiar equation relates to the reductions in mass and enormous releases of energy that occur in the processes of nuclear fission and fusion.
  • Students may be surprised at the added sugars in foods as noted in Health Wise: Keeping Track of Sugar.

For more on the content that provides a context for these projects and strategies see the SciLinks topics Carbon Cycle, ChromosomesClimates of the World, Fission, Fusion, Genes, Genome , Greenhouse Gases, Ice Ages, Nutrients, Respiration, Water Cycle

Keep reading for Science Scope and Science & Children

Science Scope — Energy

“Energy is all around us, making this cross-cutting concept relatively easy to incorporate into your teaching,” according to the editor, and middle schoolers are full of energy (in another sense). Featured articles that describe lessons include a helpful sidebar (“At a Glance”) documenting the big idea, essential pre-knowledge, time, and cost. The lessons also include connections with the NGSS.

For more on the content that provides a context for these projects and strategies see the SciLinks topics Conductors/Insulators, Elastic Forces, Electric Circuits, Heat Transfer, Insulation, Kinetic and Potential Energy, Law of Conservation of Energy, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Photosynthesis, Renewable Sources of Energy.


Science & Children – Energy

“Understanding energy…is embedded in all of the science and technology disciplines and therefore revisited many times throughout students’ STEM education” and is “compelling.

The featured articles describe compelling activities and investigations on the topic.

For more on the content that provides a context for these projects and strategies see the SciLinks topics Law of Conservation of Energy, Electricity, How Can Heat Be Measured?, How Is Heat Produced and Used, Interactions of Sound Waves, Photosynthesis, Properties of Sound, Sound, Static Electricity, Sun, Weather


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