Search This Blog

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Reading science articles

Reading current science articles can help change the pace, keep students abreast of what's happening in the world, and make their learning feel relevant. Teachers do it differently, but this how I do it with minimum fuss:

--> Read article
  1. I don't say how long the article has to be, but
  2. Scientists have to learn something new about science
  3. Science News
  4. Jr High Science News (or for differentiating students): (Both of these are from Science News, I believe, but are different: Science News For Kids 1, Science News For Kids 2)
-->Summarize article orally in your own words
  1. Students can write stuff down, but they can't read it--bores everyone.
  2. This question helps focus wandering students: "What did the scientists learn?"
  3. [Bloom's: Comprehension]
-->Ask a question:
  1. This is the critical thinking aspect, bringing the Bloom's Taxonomy level quite high (analyze, apply, evaluate).
  2. The first time you do this, the questions won't be very insightful, but they improve over time. It's exciting to watch their questioning grow.
  3. This question helps focus their questions: "What question do you have about what the scientists learned?"
  4. Some students still flummoxed can be helped with this: "What are five question words that start with the letter 'W'?" Who? What? When? Where? Why? (and How?)
  5. Another method to consider when questioning is simply to ask what you want to learn more about. This helps make the learning personal [Bloom's: Apply].
  6. You may need to rephrase their questions in a way that their classmates can understand.
  7. Feel free to answer their questions, but it's not necessary. If you can remember, try to compliment their efforts.
  8. Higher level learning [Bloom's: Analyze, Evaluate] comes best when they start using the scientific method to ask questions.
  9. To improve critical discussions, go back to your inquiry method, your controls and variables. From what you've read, did the scientists control all possible variables?
  10. When a science article uses statistics, caution them to be wary, especially if the statistics involve opinions. Opinion polls tend to corral the opiners into certain channels. Also, interpretation of statistics is highly problematic. Often, they are used to say more than they actually say.
  11. Good statistics require A) randomization and B) a good sample size.
  12. Charles Sheffield's "That Strain Again" (see blog post for teaching) helps us think of other, higher-level questions that can be asked of science articles. All students will get the gist, but a few may miss nuances, which is okay.

No comments:

Post a Comment