Key components of the "How About Science?" website are described in the paragraphs below. You may find applications that differ from what was originally intended based on the students you teach and your specific goals for a lesson. I encourage everyone to shape the resources you find on this site to fit the students you serve. Please contact me if there is anyway I can assist you in your efforts!
Lessons and Units: The topics listed here may include one or many lessons, depending on which one you choose. Generally, each topic includes one lesson, but the unit on scientific practices has eleven! Each lesson is comprised of three or four short videos and links to related websites, a handout and a quiz. Links to NGSS Standards are also provided. Click the "Activities" button and you will arrive at the NGSS Hub's Classroom Resources page. Check the appropriate grade level box and you'll find age level appropriate activities to support the standards.
The videos are typically less than five minutes in length. I have found that short videos from a variety of sources do a great job of keeping a student's attention. With shorter videos, students are exposed to a variety of presenters who tackle the topics in different ways. If the first video didn’t get through, maybe the second one will!
The lessons can be used at the beginning, middle or end of a unit, depending on your preference or schedule. The videos can be shown using a projector to a large group, or students can explore the videos at their own pace on individual computers.
The accompanying handout requires that the videos be paused so that the questions can be answered without having to write frantically while a video is playing. Once the handout is complete, click the rocket and take the quiz! Quizzes are in the form of Kahouts! The kids really enjoy these and look forward to them. Click the rocket on the home page to learn more about Kahouts if you aren’t familiar with them already.
Phenomena: Phenomena are chosen to spark curiosity, questions, ideas and discussion. They drive teaching and learning. Typically used at the beginning of a lesson or unit, they may reappear later as check on understanding. The handout that accompanies "Phenomena" was designed based on ideas about developing student thinking routines from Project Zero’s Visible Thinking program, based at Harvard University. http://www.pz.harvard.edu/projects/visible-thinking.
Phenomena are organized by topic with links to the standards at the top of each page. Images, videos and links are provided for you to explore and review. The possibilities are endless, but the resources provided may focus you into areas that shorten your search.
A "Phenomenon" is typically shown at the beginning of a unit and again at the end. Kids are excited to ask questions about the amazing and thought provoking things they see and may suggest possible explanations. But, at the beginning of a unit it is more about asking questions than answering them. "Phenomena" set the stage for the lessons and activities to come. The real test is whether students can prove their understanding with an accurate explanation at the end of a unit.
Science Games: Science Games includes a huge variety of games and interactive activities. You name a topic and it must be there somewhere! Students could spend hours on one game alone. Some games will be added to the suggested links in the Lessons and Units section if they add sufficient value to a particular topic.
Super Scientists: This section includes short biographies or stories about scientists. Many of these videos target our iconic scientists like Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, but PBS has a fantastic site that explores the secret lives of scientists and engineers. Explore the link to find information and videos about contemporary scientists. Students will find it inspirational to learn that scientists are not so different from them after all! Turn this into a lesson using the provided handout.
News: News includes a display of the best science news sites for kids! You’ll find news on any science related topic you can imagine from a wide variety of sources. Stories linked to the “How About Science?” Facebook page are available below the links. The provided handout requires students to pick one of the online stories to read, summarize and possibly share with the group.
Science Webcams: Some are cool! Some are creepy! Explore the links to find even more. Sometimes I keep one of these going during class just so we don’t miss anything!
Battlegrams!: Battlegrams is linked to the "How About Science?" Instagram feed. Several times a week new science-related questions are posted based on science images and videos from Instagram feeds around the world. Anyone following the feed can try to answer the question. The answers are posted after a few days. The questions visit any topic covered in the national standards. NASA, National Geographic and many other highly respected organizations have Instagram feeds with wonderful images and videos.
In summary: "How About Science?" is another tool for your science teaching toolbox. It is designed to supplement an existing inquiry-based program, not to replace one.