This page is all about resources that could be useful to science teachers, with an emphasis on intermediate grades and the focus of my particular unit, measurement of force and motion. Texts that I own are on the “Books on my Shelf” page. My thanks to those classmates who found some of these resources and which I (in proper teacher tradition) promptly decided would be useful here, too!


    In no particular order, a quick list of people who would serve as resources

  • Other teachers in the school, because they probably know where things are, what has and hasn’t worked in the past, and because they know the specific school community better than I do!
  • Craig Gabler/ESD Science coordinator: as he said on Feb 18, that’s what he is there for! I can ask questions about what is available, what aligns to standards, and how to use specific tools and kits that are available through the ESD.
  • Reference Librarians: They will know where to look for answers, and can help me narrow down searches. I suspect that as a first-year teacher I will be doing a lot of additional research for nearly everything. I might want to consult them before trying to pull everything together, as they might have insights for courses of inquiry I can engage in.
  • My friends who are scientists, mathematicians, teachers and dreamers. Again, no particular order, C. R., J. M., S. S., J. J., E. T., P. H. and C. T. — and my mother and my sons in particular who keep me honest about what life-long learning is about.

Annotated Print Resources not owned by me:

  1. Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America. Jeffrey Lehman, editor. Detroit, MI: Gale Group. 2000. This three-volume work, while not exhaustive (Salish and Coast Salish are absent for example), provides quick overviews of the origins of groups within the United States. Each entry has an Overview of the population, which includes history, immigration (when, why and how), and then talks about Acculturation and Assimilation, Language, Family and Community Dynamics, Religion, Employment and Economic Conditions, Politics and Government, and Individual and Group Contributions. Additional references and organizations are listed at the back of each entry. I would use this to give me more detailed general background knowledge of students whose cultures are new to me. For example, the Guatemalan American entry if I were teaching in Mason County. It would be helpful to the children for me to be able to hold out an example of something or someone that comes from Guatemala, especially if I had students who felt that only Euro-Americans have anything worth looking at. I knew that Guatemalan culture is not synonymous with Mexican, but I was astonished to learn how many distinct culture groups there are within the Guatemalan community itself!

Annotated Website (newest entires are listed first):

  1. North Carolina’s engineering school. Some science and math lessons that have appropriate grade applications for K – 8.
  2. Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science:
    National Science Resources Center of the National Academy of Sciences and the Smithsonian Institution; ISBN: 0-309-56085-3, 312 pages, 8.5 x 11, (1996). Free PDF download from National Academies Press has good information about a wide variety of teaching materials (units such as FOSS kits as well as texts), some of which may be no longer available or out of date. Of value to me are the descriptions of what children at various grade levels should know and be able to do. discovered 2012
  3. Tools for Ambitious Science Teaching: This website was used for an assignment for our class, I have continued to go back to it and watch additional videos and read PDFs and pages on the site. It is the most useful site I have found to help me “think about thinking” and sort through the steps that I, as a teacher, need to go through in order to set up the steps that my students will profit from. In particular, check out Windschitl’s chapter on Inquiry that is provided on this website. (PDF).
  4. Washington State Science Instruction (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction): This page links to the current standards and additional documents that support teachers as they plan for science instruction in Washington state. It was the first place I went when I started thinking about the work for this quarter!
  5. Benchmarks for Science Literacy: This website has clear, succinct descriptions of what scientists and science educators believe students should know and be able to do by certain points in their education. This is a page that helps provide clarity for me as I consider exactly how to meet the state standards. It was linked to from Tools for Teaching Science.
  6. National Science Teacher’s Association Learning Center: Took me a while to find this, but — they have many resources for teachers, some of which are free to use others which require membership. I will use this website to help me figure out more about the specifics of Newton’s Laws before I actually try to explain things in “kid language.” I also will use some of the resources to help with other science questions I may have as I go along.
  7. GLE Support Documents for older science standards: These are not current with the EALRs for science, but there are good activities and explanations. There are also professional development checklists so teachers can see their effectiveness. Finally, and for the purpose of this exercise, I would use these documents as clues to what is reasonable at a given grade/age level. To be honest, it’s knowing what is reasonable for the specific grade level that is most daunting as I try to think of how to put all this together! If you back up a level (instead of looking at science) you can choose other content areas. Under reading, writing, and communications are specific standards for English Language Learners! Huzzah!
  8. Strand Maps for Science: This is a way-cool graphic organizer tool that helps me think about connections. The map that helps me for this project is about forces and motion, and shows the understandings that students develop as they move through the grades — it relates to the benchmarks website very well. The gravity page also contains connections that my students and I might make.
  9. prepared physics powerpoints: This page has powerpoints prepared by teachers on a variety of topics related to force and motion as well as other physical science questions. The science on these powerpoints appears to be solid, but care must be taken before using, as many have poor spelling and iffy grammar. I would use these powerpoints to help me explain concepts to the children, and if we had time, to help them see how to use powerpoints for their own presentations.  Backing up to the the main site, world of teaching, powerpoints can be found for nearly any topic required. All pages on this site require scrolling down past the google ads which can be a bit confusing. However, being able to find and then modify a powerpoint rather than having to create whole-cloth makes this a useful site in general.
  10. Physics Hypertextbook: This is a work in progress, an apparent labor of love by a real-life science educator from a high school. The definitions are interesting, and relate directly to the concepts that he teaches. However, I suspect that he has a good sense of humor as I read the parenthetical remarks on the site. I would use this solely for the enjoyment of it, and to help me rephrase my thinking into more student- friendly language.
  11. NASA website for Educators: This link takes you to the alphabetical list of topics of interest to educators. On the left-hand side of the page in the menu bar are entry pages for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 as well as post-secondary. I am including the NASA website because “space” studies are inherently motivating.  I would use these pages to support the link between the concepts and “real world” use of the concepts.  There are some pages and links to discussions of force and motion as well as webpages and support for students at the For Students entry page. Look for the picture dictionary on the K-4 student pages!
  12. The link actually directs you to the physical science page. There are subcategories. This is an amazing resource, it is free but requires registration. Lesson plans, videos, etc. — many ways to both help the teacher think about the content and materials to present it, reinforce learning and otherwise help students engage with the big ideas.
  13. Changing Measurements?: This BBC article from 26 January 2011 illustrates the arbitrary nature of measurement. A good way to illustrate that what we are really interested in are relationships, not absolutes.
  14. Ultra-efficient car: Another BBC article, this time on a new Volkswagen test model that manages to get very efficient mileage. It illustrates how motion depends on force (how to get an engine to produce “push” and movement), and the usefulness of the concepts in the real word.
  15. A page that gives quick definitions and explanations of ideas around force and motion. This page would be useful for students to refer to if they want to refresh their memory of how things work toward the end of the unit and after.
  16. This page has specific misconceptions that students might have. The link points to one part of the page, there is also a section on measurement that is informative. I would use this page while planning to help me think as a student does so that I could try to anticipate scaffolds and helpful learning experiences.
  17. UCSD Physics (PDF of Powerpoint slides) “The Legacy of Sir Isaac Newton:” This PDF has been very helpful for me to think about velocity and how to document and represent data. It’s a planning tool, rather than something I could use with the age of students I am looking at.
  18. Biomechanics Page: This page has also been helpful to me, getting my head around various concepts, and unconfusing me on a couple of points (such as the difference between momentum and force).
  19. New Zealand Science Videos: This website has many interesting videos, lesson plans, etc. by grade level and topic. I would use the video on pulleys and simple machines to help me think about ways to help my students see why we are interested in the concepts of force and motion.
  20. A simple online game that replicates an experiment students can do: I would not use this game in isolation, but to allow students to self-check their understanding as a review of a previous day’s learning, or to allow students to show their families a “cool” activity that they did in class. The actual ability of a game like this to be educative, absent hands-on experience, is likely to be minimal; but I do think it would be a fun way for students to activate their knowledge and test their ideas.
  21. NEA Science Links Page: The National Education Association has pages of resources for teachers. I would use this page to help me quickly find additional resources if I got stuck mid-planning.
  22. PBS Science Resources for 3-5th grade Teachers: There are over 180 pages of links to resources including lesson plans, games and videos that teachers can use for science. I would check through this as I am considering how to supplement the hands-on experiences with review and discussion.
  23. The Woodwright’s Shop: Technically this isn’t a “science” website. But it’s good, old-fashioned engineering using wood. Force, motion, levers, screws, pulleys… simple machines, simple principles, but very powerful. For students who like to build things, the use of hand tools and Roy Underhill’s eloquent and accessible explanations of how each tool makes a woodworker’s life easier allows access to why we might even want to understand the ideas of this unit. I would want to select a single episode, or part of an episode or two, but I think these videos would provide solid supplementation to hands-on experiences. I wonder if the toy-making episode from the 2008-2009 season would be useful, just to open some conversations about how force (push, pull) and other concepts show up.

Generally Science Cool Sites:

And just for fun…

A random number generator. In case you need another method to call on students randomly…