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5 Websites to Help You Enhance Your Science Curriculum

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Sep 25, 2014 11:05:07 AM


There’s no doubt about it, the Web is brimming with resources to help teachers enhance their science curriculum. But sorting through the clutter and finding the best websites, can be tedious and time consuming. That’s why I’d like to share five science websites that I personally check on a regular basis.

Some of these sites tackle the “serious” side of science; others may push students to rethink their presuppositions about technology, or simply answer wild and wacky questions they have about science.

5 Websites to Help You Enhance Your Science Curriculum

science curriculumI’d probably file How Stuff Works under the wild-and-wacky umbrella. Ever wonder why octopus blood is blue, how NASCAR got its start, or why men have nipples? No problem, the writers, editors, podcasters, and video hosts of How Stuff Works have the answers.

science curriculumLow-Tech Magazine is a website run by Kris De Decker and Deva Lee, a creative duo who write about often-forgotten knowledge and technologies with the idea that not every problem necessitates a high-tech solution.

On Low-Tech, students will find thought-provoking articles about sustainable energy solutions: How to generate power directly from the water tap; why it makes more sense to heat your clothes and not your home; how to heat cities without fossil fuels; and countless other articles that will pique your students’ interest and enhance your science curriculum.
science curriculum
Science Friday began over two decades ago as a radio show, but since then, they’ve developed into a heck of a lot more. Here, you’ll find award-winning videos and articles covering everything from octopus camouflage to cooking on Mars.

science curriculumNova is the highest rated science series on television; it’s also the most watched documentary series on public television. To supplement their television programming, Nova created a website to host their ever-expanding library of science shows, articles and videos that cover anything from Tsunamis and Sasquatch, to planet hunting and stabilizing vaccines with silk.

science curriculumInstructables is a one-stop shop for any do-it-yourself project you can—and can’t—think of. All of the tutorials on the site are user-created, which gives students the opportunity to not only try building other users’ projects, but also take a shot at helping others build their projects.

Photo credit: Amy Loves Yah / Foter / CC BY


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Tags: STEM careers, STEM curriculum, science teachers, science curriculum, science and engineering education

STEM of the Living Dead: 4 Zombie-Inspired Lesson Plans

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jun 11, 2014 10:00:00 AM

STEM-1This morning, I came across a collection of four zombie-themed lesson plans that are perfect for living-dead lovers and STEM teachers.

These lessons, which you’ll find on the PBS website, ask students to compare the “normal” brain to a “zombie” brain. While you could use these lessons as “stand-alones,” each one follows an accompanying plot line where the world is fighting a zombie apocalypse and the best and the brightest young people are being trained as neuroscientists. The hope is that, with the proper training, students will be able to cure the zombie epidemic and save the world.

To browse these four lesson plans, click here.




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Tags: STEM, science teachers, science curriculum, science and engineering education, zombie lesson plans

Travel Our Solar System With This Interactive Infographic

Posted by Ryan O'Rourke on Apr 24, 2014 9:57:00 AM

Space Race is an animated infographic that takes users on a scrolling adventure that begins on Earth and ends at the edge of the solar system, some 21 billion kilometers away. Comprehending the enormity of our solar system is difficult, but Space Race certainly helps put it in perspective.

Space Race

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Tags: STEM careers, STEM jobs, STEM curriculum, apps for educators, apps for teachers, science curriculum, science and engineering education

Science Buddies Helps Students Find Engaging Science Experiments

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Dec 26, 2013 6:00:00 AM

science experimentsDeciding on a science experiment is a little bit like settling on a research paper topic for many of our students. They often need a little guidance to figure out what truly interests them.

If this sounds too familiar, direct your students to Science Buddies, a website with over 1,000 experiment ideas that cover more than 30 different areas of science.

So that your students don’t have to rifle through their entire database of projects, Science Buddies set up a topic selection wizard, a survey quiz that asks users questions about their interests, grade, and reading comprehension level. Based on these answers, the topic selection wizard will find a collection of science experiment ideas that correspond to users’ interests and abilities.

There are a few other noteworthy things you’ll find on Science Buddies:

The Ask an Expert Forum
This is a place where students can go to find answers to science questions they can’t find elsewhere. If students have specific questions about their science fair project, Science Buddies’ team of volunteer scientists can help. While these experts won't do the work for students, they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help students troubleshoot.

Explore Careers in Earth and Physical Science

Want to know more about careers in earth and physical sciences? Browse through detailed information on over 100 careers to discover what scientists really do and what it takes to prepare for these careers. Each career profile provides basic career information such as salary, job outlook, degree requirements, etc. Science Buddies has also included videos featuring interviews with real scientists or on-the-job profiles.


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Tags: STEM careers, STEM jobs, STEM curriculum, science experiments, science curriculum, science and engineering education

Frontiers Brings Professional Neuroscientists and Students Together

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Nov 27, 2013 10:06:00 AM

frontiers for young mindsAs a fledgling student, I always took a shine to writing and science, but the closest I ever came to engaging with professional writers and scientists came through copies of my dad’s National Geographic magazines. The pictures were great, but the articles felt impenetrable.

The thought that I could somehow shape the articles I “read” and interact with the professionals behind them never crossed my mind. If only Frontiers in Neuroscience for Young Minds had been around in those days!

Frontiers is a scholarly, peer-reviewed science journal for kids. Not only have they partnered with some of the brightest neuroscientists in the world, they’ve found a way to bring students—some as young as five years old—into the peer review process.

frontiers for young minds 2

Here’s how it works: Established neuroscientists develop articles based on their research—but before publishing it to Frontiers, they invite criticism from young people so that the article can be made more digestible for a younger audience.

Neuroscientists mentor these Young Review Editors, help them review the manuscript and focus their queries to authors. Once the Young Review Editor offers his/her critique, the original author reworks the article and then passes it on to an Associate Editor at Frontiers for publication. How cool is that?

If your students are interested in becoming a Frontiers Young Minds Reviewer, all they have to do is contact the editorial office ( with a short biography and a letter.

Here are some of the topics Frontiers covers:

·  The Brain and Friends (social neuroscience)
·  The Brain and Fun (emotion)
·  The Brain and Magic (perception, sensation)
·  The Brain and Allowances (neuroeconomics)
·  The Brain and School (attention, decision making)
·  The Brain and Sports (motor control, action)
·  The Brain and Life (memory)
·  The Brain and Talking/Texting (language)
·  The Brain and Growing (neurodevelopment)

To read some of the published articles, click here.


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Tags: writing strategies, writing fluency, writing skills, science teachers, science standards, science curriculum, science and engineering education

Next Generation Science Standards Champion Diversity in Science Curriculum!

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Jul 24, 2012 11:24:00 AM

Marygrove MAT encourages teachers to champion diversity in science in your classroom!The recently completed Next Generation of Science Standards document attempts to address the needs of a variety of learners. The team tasked with writing the standards document is dedicated to promoting equity in schools and addressing the challenges and opportunities present among a variety of learners.  This commitment to diversity in science curriculum is evident in the work they have completed so far.  As the documents continue to be revised and refined, this commitment will continue until every learner has an entry point and avenue for continued scientific growth. 

The most recently released National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) data shows that only 32 percent of eighth graders proved to be proficient on the 2011 science assessment. Specific sub-group data details some gender differences in scores such as male students scoring five points higher than females, and achievement score variations among some cultural and socioeconomic groups. This data strengthens the case for including diversity in the science curriculum and the necessity for a set of comprehensive science standards that is applicable to all students.

It is important to remember that the Next Generation Science Standards are still in draft form.  The first version was released to the public in May, 2012 and, after a three-week window followed for feedback, the committee is revising the draft, with the next draft due for public release in Fall, 2012.

Supporting documents were also released including an overview of the section which focuses on diversity entitled "All Standards, All Students." Created by the equity and diversity team, an arm of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), writers focused specifically on diversity in science curriculum. This section aims to address the needs of a variety of learners. It will identify instructional strategies, additional resources, and possible targeted adaptations and modifications to make the NGSS a document that benefits all learners. The final version of this chapter will include vignettes focused on support for student groups such as English Language Learners (ELL), students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, and racial and ethnic minorities. The May release included research and additional information on the NGSS in regards to:

  • English Language Learners (ELL):  Because science education requires a vast vocabulary of technical and content-specific vocabulary, many English language learners struggle because of language skills.   The Next Generation Science Standards encourage teachers to integrate instructional strategies used for literacy development, such as activating prior knowledge, explicit instruction on reading strategies, and the use of graphic organizers.  Teachers may also want to teach the specific genre of scientific writing and record keeping.
  • Students with Disabilities: The Next Generation Science Standards are written for special needs students in the inclusion classroom, resource room setting, or self-contained classroom.  The writing panel encourages teachers to use a variety of instructional methods, based on students' Individualized Education Programs (IEP) or growth goals, so that students may fully learn the scientific concepts. Accommodations and modifications can easily be made to the standards documents to alter delivery, practice, application, or assessment.

Every child deserves the equal opportunity to learn science. We are very pleased about the steps that the NGSS will take to make science learning accessible to children of multiple intelligences, as well as those with diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. It is an exciting time in education!

Get a leg up on the NGSS—coming this fall. Download our FREE on-demand webinar, “Cutting Edge Science,” and see how the standards will impact your instruction.

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Tags: Next Generation Science Standards, equity in schools, curriculum, instruction and assessment, science curriculum, on demand webinar

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