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Archive for the 'Nature of Science (NOS)' Category

Science Action Labs – Sciencing: Learning About the Scientific Method.

Posted by Mr. Oettinger on 15th February 2011

Science Action Labs -
Sciencing: Learning About the Scientific Method.
by Edward Shevick

Sciencing: Learning About the Scientific Method.This book is suggested for grades 4-8, but I find that there are some gems in this book that can be adapted to classrooms of any grade.

The book is organized into 23 hands-on science activities ready for student use.  I won’t lie, a number of the activities are pretty lame.  However, several that really shine will be discussed here.

Sciencing #6:
Hypothesis Lab
My favorite parts of this lab are the second and third scientific problems. 

One problem involves a pie pan with one-third cut out.  Students are asked to predict what path a small ball will take when rolled around the rim until it exits at the open end.  After discussion, students carry out this simple experiment.

The other problem involves two balloons filled with different volumes of air and connected with a stopper inbetween.  Students are asked to predict what will happen when air is allowed to flow freely from one balloon to another.

Both labs are fairly simple to do either as a class demonstration, or more ideally, as small group activities with your classes.

One can easily see how these activities can be adapted to a physical science curriculum about motion or equilibrium.  The balloon activity can even be adapted to a life science classroom discussion about homeostasis.  Or, use either of these activities early in the year as part of your nature of science (NOS) lessons.

Sciencing #7:
Consumer Lab: Comparing Paper Towels

One year, my students wanted to do a science fair experiment to compare paper towel absorption and strength.  It was a great idea, but I was a bit disappointed with their experimental design.

This book presents a fantastic experimental design that will surely improve on any students’ attempt to conduct this kind of investigation.  It’s simple and easy, and I wish I had thought of it first!

Sciencing #13:
Mystery Box Lab: Learning by Direct Evidence
This is the traditional mystery box lab in which students try to figure out what is inside a box.  This lab has the students creating their own mystery box.  A nice little lab for any NOS lessons.

Sciencing #20:
“Resilasticity” Lab or How High Will I Bounce
?
This is a nice quantitative lab in which students collect data on three different types of balls, calculate averages, and graph and analyze the data.

This is a great lab for a NOS lesson, a math or science lesson about quantitative vs. qualitative data, or simply a graphing lesson.  Every intro science class needs to do a lesson like this which combines all of these necessary science skills.

Sciencing #22:
Can You Learn To Think Metric
?
A great little lesson where students are given some exemplars of items in metric sizes, and then must make predictions about the metric sizes of various other objects.  Finally, students progress to learning how to use a metric ruler to measure things.

A fantastic lesson involving making predictions, abstract thinking, hands-on activity, math skills development, and experimentation.

_________________________

All-in-all, this little softcover booklet is packed with several duds, but also several gems.  It is readily available for fewer than $10, so go get one today.

Posted in Biology lesson ideas, Chemistry, Inquiry, Life Science, Nature of Science (NOS), Physics, Science Pedagogy | No Comments »

The Circulatory System: From Harvey to the Artificial Heart.

Posted by Mr. Oettinger on 19th September 2010

The Circulatory System: From Harvey to the Artificial Heart
by Tom McGowen

The Circulatory System: From Harvey to the Artificial Heart.I discovered this book in grad school while working on a report about the history of the development of scientific knowledge of the circulatory system.

This book delivers the most complete treatment on that subject of any single publication.  Its looks can be deceiving: it’s about the size and length of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, but the typeface is smaller and more dense, so it’s worthy of a more mature reader.

This book takes you on a tour of human conceptions and scientific breakthroughs regarding the circulatory system around the world from Hippocrates.about 3600 years ago until the late 1980’s when the book was published.

If you don’t know the story, then it’s a fascinating read–and not just in a nerdy sense.  Also, as a science teacher, one should be aware of some major players in the development of scientific knowledge like Hippocrates, Galen, Andreas Vesalius, William Harvey, and many others.

Andreas Vesalius.This book covers more than just the people and their discoveries, it also lays out the prevailing cultural attitudes and scientific methodologies that helped, and hindered, scientific progress.

Ever since I found this book, I have been hoping for a way to infuse it into my biology curriculum.  It would be a perfect book for a science summer reading list, but since the book is long out-of-print, it’s not likely to be available in such large quantities.

Andreas Vesalius.I have thought of taking chapters, or shorter segments thereof, and having a short “story time” with my classes.  Unfortunately, I am not currently involved with a student body worthy of such a luxury.

Perhaps some day the right idea will come along, but until then, this book has enriched my understanding of one aspect of the nature of science, and it serves as a source of anecdotes to enrich my lessons about the human circulatory system.

Posted in Biology, Biology lesson ideas, Nature of Science (NOS), Science Pedagogy | No Comments »