All posts by Brad (Admin)

Two Weeks of Biology Lesson Plans for Experimental Design

In these two weeks of Biology Experimental Design Lesson Plans your students will:

 

 

 

 

  • Design and carry out their own experiment.
  • Practice making observations
  • Hypothesis writing
  • Procedure writing
  • Identifying independent and dependent variables.
  • Choosing the right equipment
  • Create a Lab Report

You can get the lesson plans and worksheets emailed directly to your inbox.

Click Here to Get Your Two Weeks of Biology Experimental Design Lessons with 20+ Worksheets and Activities with a Quizlet!

Get Your Full Biology Curriculum

Full Biology Curriculum Available Tomorrow 8/10/2017 @ 9:00 A.M.

Tomorrow is the day we are opening the community and full access to the  biology curriculum. This is a beta opening and will be limited to only 50 founding members.  I will be sending an email as soon as it opens. If you would like to receive it but are not on our list. Register your email here!

Check out the video below with instructions on how to register tomorrow and a sneak peak inside the community.

 

 

Do Not Plan For Biology!… It is Already Done For You!

Are you getting anxious about planning for the start of the school year?

While I was scrolling through my facebook feed I noticed many teachers are beginning to gear up for the next school year and some have already started back. I walked into the store the other day and my stomach dropped a little bit when I saw the back-to-school supplies and I had the urge to start gearing up as well.

However, I reminded myself to relax because I am planned for the entire year. Not just for the first day or week but for the entire year. I have spent the last two years after work, weekends and the summers building a biology curriculum to solve a major problem in education. Time!

 

Throughout my entire graduate program in curriculum and instruction there was a common theme among all teachers in the program. There is never enough time to do what we need to do!  On top of the day to day struggles with time, add in all of the initiatives administration wants to implement (that are  usually not sufficiently researched or tested) and teachers are left with their heads spinning and anxiety setting in.

I can imagine that is the source of anxiety for many of us as we return to school.

 

Last year I had the opportunity to have the convenience of  this biology curriculum and I must say it was a game changer, not just for my work life but for my life after work as well. At work, I could spend my time focusing on student learning, grading assessments, using data to improve my instruction and targeting students with specific needs to help them achieve.

At home, I was far less stressed and was able to enjoy my time with my wife and two kids. I didn’t have to grade papers at dance class. The papers were already graded because I had time during planning/prep because I was already planned out for the year. I could actually watch my daughter practice.

 

I know the rigorous curriculum is going to challenge your students and help build your repertoire
your instructional practices. I have made every effort to ensure all of the things you asked for in the survey were included.

In addition, the curriculum is going to improve with the feedback from the founders (you). The overall goal is to create the best possible biology curriculum with community of teachers all supporting the growth of the curriculum and eachother. Do not miss out on your chance to be a founding member.

 

If you are new teacher, a teacher who hasn’t taught biology in years,  a teacher that just wants to try a new approach, a teacher with 4 preps and just want one less to worry about then this is the biology curriculum for you.

In the creation of the curriculum the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were used as a guide. I have experience teaching in two different states and have met people through from all corners of the country at various conferences and training. When we discuss biology curriculum, there a minor difference if any at all in the foundations that we are teaching and those foundations drive this curriculum.


As an “Exemplary Employee of the Year ” recipient in a school district with 1200+ teachers, I am excited to share with you the same instructional strategies I used that allowed be to be recognized.

I have finally been able to package this curriculum for others to use and continue to build on it regularly. We are still in the final stages of testing and tweaking the technical aspect of this website and will launch the biology curriculum on August 10th.
Here is your first two weeks of school already planned out:

If you like what I am doing please the support the cause: comment/Share my facebook post on this curriculum to let other biology teachers know about this. Thank you!

Your First Two Weeks –> click here and they will be sent directly to your inbox.

More details will follow in an email in a couple of days so sign up for email.

Thanks  to those of you who provided input on the survey that helped shape this curriculum. It includes everything that was requested.

Full Biology Curriculum

Biology Lesson Plans-A Full Curriculum

Become a Member of the Community!                                  

 

For teachers, by teachers Daily Agendas, Bell Ringers, Presentations, Guided Notes, Printables, Labs, Worksheets and Assessments. Bell-to-bell activities & Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) tied in! A  biology curriculum for grades 9-12 already done for you!

 

Daily Opening Activities & Bell Ringers! 

  • Every biology lesson plans comes with opening activities/bell ringers that will help get your students quiet, focused and started before the bell rings.
  • Our opening activities and worksheets engage students and help them practice or review the content so you can easily assess their progress and make adjustments to help increase their performance.
  • We also include daily agendas for every lesson so you can avoid answering the “What are we doing?” question a thousand times a day. Students will know exactly what to expect out of the class period.

>>Get your Full Biology Curriculum Here<<

 

All  Biology Lessons Come with Detailed PowerPoint Presentations.

  • No need to spend the countless hours it takes to create detailed presentations, they are already done for you.
  • Also included are guided notes so students can follow along and fill in the blanks!
  • Every biology PowerPoint is content rich with great pictures to that help reinforce the biology content.

 

Hundreds of Worksheets Including Labs, Hands on Activities!

  • USBiologyTeaching.Com has great activities that are going to keep your students engaged and learning. The lesson plans are rich with a variety of instructional practices that will help you improve your teaching craft.
  • Students need a variety of instructional strategies to keep them engaged, focused and learning. Engaged students are less likely to cause problems so you can focus on teaching instead of writing discipline referrals.
  • Great lab activities that will have your students loving biology and you loving your job as teacher. The lab activities are budget friendly for teachers who are not given a budget for their courses.

 

Great  Biology Videos and Instructional Technology!

  • Lessons include excellent short video clips that are pre-screened and will help your auditory/visual learners excel in biology.
  • Lessons include Quizlets already made with all of the vocabulary words so your students can use their devices to play quizlet live to review for their test/quiz or you can simply print the flash cards for your students from quizlet.

>>Get your Full Biology Curriculum Here<<

 

Daily Exit Activities, Test and Quizzes and Reviews 

  • Each unit includes a test with an answer key to help you quickly grade the assignments.
  • Tests are zipgrade friendly so you can simply hover your phone/device over the student bubble sheet and receive their score in seconds.
  • Lesson plans include a variety of exit activities to help you assess what your students have learned that day so you can easily make adjustment and help improve student learning.

 

A Community of Teachers 

  • Inside the members area you can connect to other biology teachers to chat, share ideas, worksheets/files and build relationships.

Take Back Your Life!

  • A common theme among all teachers is that there is never enough time to do what we need to do. USBiologyTeaching.Com is here to help you take back your life so you can enjoy your life after the last bell rings.
  • Improve your health. Spend more time with family. Go to the gym. Take leisurely strolls because you do not have to worry about planning anymore. We have done the work for you and have saved you hundreds of hours.

>>Get your Full Biology Curriculum Here<<

#biologyteaching #takebackyourlife #engagestudents

Biology Lesson Plans- A Full Curriculum Coming Soon

Biology Lesson Plans-A Full Curriculum

Become a Founding Member:                                                            Limited Spaces Available- Available August 10th 2017

 

For teachers, by teachers Daily Agendas, Bell Ringers, Presentations, Guided Notes, Printables, Labs, Worksheets and Assessments. Bell-to-bell activities & Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) tied in!

Daily Opening Activities & Bell Ringers! 

  • Every biology lesson plans comes with opening activities/bell ringers that will help get your students quiet, focused and started before the bell rings.
  • Our opening activities and worksheets engage students and help them practice or review the content so you can easily assess their progress and make adjustments to help increase their performance.
  • We also include daily agendas for every lesson so you can avoid answering the “What are we doing?” question a thousand times a day. Students will know exactly what to expect out of the class period.

All  Biology Lessons Come with Detailed PowerPoint Presentations. 

  • No need to spend the countless hours it takes to create detailed presentations, they are already done for you.
  • Also included are guided notes so students can follow along and fill in the blanks!
  • Every biology PowerPoint is content rich with great pictures to that help reinforce the biology content.

Hundreds of Worksheets Including Labs, Hands on Activities!

  • USBiologyTeaching.Com has great activities that are going to keep your students engaged and learning. The lesson plans are rich with a variety of instructional practices that will help you improve your teaching craft.
  • Students need a variety of instructional strategies to keep them engaged, focused and learning. Engaged students are less likely to cause problems so you can focus on teaching instead of writing discipline referrals.
  • Great lab activities that will have your students loving biology and you loving your job as teacher. The lab activities are budget friendly for teachers who are not given a budget for their courses.

Great  Biology Videos and Instructional Technology!

  • Lessons include excellent short video clips that are pre-screened and will help your auditory/visual learners excel in biology.
  • Lessons include Quizlets already made with all of the vocabulary words so your students can use their devices to play quizlet live to review for their test/quiz or you can simply print the flash cards for your students from quizlet.

Daily Exit Activities, Test and Quizzes and Reviews 

  • Each unit includes a test with an answer key to help you quickly grade the assignments.
  • Tests are zipgrade friendly so you can simply hover your phone/device over the student bubble sheet and receive their score in seconds.
  • Lesson plans include a variety of exit activities to help you assess what your students have learned that day so you can easily make adjustment and help improve student learning.

A Community of Teachers 

  • Inside the members area you can connect to other biology teachers to chat, share ideas, worksheets/files and build relationships.

Take Back Your Life!

  • A common theme among all teachers is that there is never enough time to do what we need to do. USBiologyTeaching.Com is here to help you take back your life so you can enjoy your life after the last bell rings.
  • Improve your health. Spend more time with family. Go to the gym. Take leisurely strolls because you do not have to worry about planning anymore. We have done the work for you and have saved you hundreds of hours.

 

A Quick Exit Activity

In this  exit activity, teachers can assess or pre-assess their students comfort level as they walk out of the door.

For this simple exit activity or pre-assessment activity all the teacher needs to do is draw and label the graph on the board.

The students are then able to walk up and place their “sticky note” in the column that represents how comfortable they are.

That quick the teacher has a graph of what would likely represent the distribution of scores if a quiz or test was given that day. Of course this all depends on the honesty of the students so encourage them to answer honestly.

To get more biology activities sent to you regularly sign up here.

Biology Teacher Interview Questions

Biology Teacher Interview Questions

In this post, I will discuss some Biology teacher interview questions, how to prepare for an interview and land the job with the contract you want.

Whether this is your first interview for a Biology teaching position or your 21st you need to do what you can to prepare to give you the best shot at landing a job.

Being prepared for your Biology teaching interview questions is going to help set your answers apart from your competition and help you be more confident and relaxed.

Finding your Job

One strategy I used when trying to find a job near my family in another state was to identify all of the schools within driving distance of where I would live.

Next, I add the schools employment pages to my favorites. You could also pin the tabs and have all of the pages open every time you open the browser. Either strategy will work, just make sure you check in frequently since the deadlines for submitting you application are very short.

Applying for Your Biology Teaching Job

Have multiple packets of your clearances, references letters, resume, certification documents, transcripts and any other documents that you will need. Your cover letter and resume must be free of typos!

I have taken it a step further and included things like a copy of a newspaper article written about an award I received for exemplary employee of the year and even article about specific projects I did with students.

When applying at a job fair, I had photo of myself in a suit on the top right of my resume. I did it because I want to set myself apart and stand out from the crowd of people that were also interviewing. One of the recruiters commented “your a smart guy” when he saw my resume. Several days later, I was signing a contract with that district and years later I was recruiting other teachers with the same guy!

Below are some interview questions you can expect. When you practice answering the questions be sure to respond using specific examples from your own experiences. If you get caught off guard by a question just answer honestly.

Remember to dress to impress, relax (but not too much), have good posture, make eye contact and talk professionally.

Interview Questions for Biology Teachers

Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you want to work here.
  • Tip- Do not go on forever telling your life story, tell the interviewer information that is relevant to the position like your education, work history and personal history connected to the school if applicable.
In what way do you plan instruction to engage students?
  • Use specific examples of ways you have engaged students.
What do you believe is the most important part of classroom management?
  • Developing positive relationships with students and procedures. Explain specific examples of how you have done do these.
Describe a lesson that you think went well. What do you think made it successful? How do you know if it was successful?
  • Be specific about a lesson. When talking about why it was successful you may want to mention how you designed the lesson (i.e 5E model, differentiated for all learners), predicted areas where students would struggle and provided the necessary support and scaffolding at the right times, used specific questions techniques that fostered higher level thinking. You know it was successful because you use a variety of assessment strategies (be specific to your lesson). Check out this assessment strategy for an excellent model.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • Describe how you see yourself in their school, working towards a higher degree, fine tuning the curriculum, having a well-established positive reputation, coaching, sponsor a club. Ect.
Note: We will be offering a FULL YEAR of Biology Lesson Plans starting  August 2017.  Detailed plans for every day, every worksheet, lab, assessment, presentation. Every day planned for you.  Sign up here to get email reminders, updates and free activities to your inbox.
How do you handle a student who is disrespectful to you?
  • This is an opportunity to talk about how you manage the class. Mention that though you work hard at establishing an environment of respect, students do have bad days and act out. If you have not checked out the classroom management form <–click here and look it over. It is a specific tool you can mention in the interview.
How do you handle a student who has a negative attitude toward Biology?
  • Foster a positive relationship. Admit that not every student is going to love the subject as much as you do but you will try your best to get them to love it. Your passion is going to help them become passionate.
If I walked into your classroom yesterday, what would I have seen?
  • Describe the component of your lesson from start to finish. Describe your lesson in a way that shows your interview that you can design cohesive instruction.
What made you want to become a Biology teacher?
  • I can’t help you here. Just avoid saying “I couldn’t find a jobs anyway else with my biology degree”
Provide an example of how you have differentiated instruction.
  • Here you will want to discuss high differentiation and lower differentiation. Check out this activity to get an idea of what higher differentiation can look like.
Describe two strengths and two weakness you have as an educator.
  • This is a balancing act. Make your negatives sound positive. For example, instead of saying I struggle with classroom management say sometimes I care too much about the small behaviors that can get my students off task, however I am learning how to deal with them better each day (use a specific example i.e. proximity). This is probably the most difficult question.
What would you do if your lesson that involved technology did not work due to a technology issues?
  • Describe a situation where you have encountered this and describe how you made an adjustment.
Why should we hire you over the other candidates? Why you?
  • Mention experiences you have that are unique like you worked in a title 1 school for X number of years, you have a vested interest in the school, you will out work anyone, teaching is your passion and not a job, willing to learn, a team player.

Do not be surprised if you encounter a wild question. I recall my first ever interview being asked “if I could be any animal what would it be.”

What you could encounter in the interview.

You could be asked specific content knowledge questions. They are usually embedded into lesson design questions. For example, describe a lesson you taught on evolution. Yes, you may be asked about evolution.

As a biology teacher, you should expect this question. Regardless of how you feel about teaching evolution, for many states it is an assessed area and you must teach it.

You may be asked to answer a question (s) in writing.

After the interview

Send an email or a thank you card to the interview team.

If you are selected, you may be asked to come back and teach a lesson to the team. In fact, at my current job, I was ask to teach to the team (topic: evolution) and again to students another day (plants).

Signing the Contract

Do not sign the contract until you are comfortable with everything in it. Ask questions if you do not understand something. Ideally you will have read the contract prior to your interview to help you determine if you even want to work there.

Common Contract Issues:

  • Permanent vs Temporary Position (temporary can mean full time permanent but NOT tenured so be sure to read the contract)
  • Years of service may not be honored. You may have to negotiate your years of service. Know the contract before having this discussion.
  • Benefits-health, pension contributions. Your pay could look great however, when you look at the amount you have to pay for your health insurance, the competing school offering you $10,000 less per year may actually be a better financial decision.
  • Educational benefits- Most states require you to continue your education. Does the school pay for it? If so, how much? Do not be afraid to negotiate here.
    • If you get the job, you may want to take classes during the summer. Ask the school to pay for those classes even before your contract begins.

Finding your Job

One strategy I used when trying to find a job near my family in another state was to identify all of the schools within driving distance of where I would live.

Next, I add the schools employment pages to my favorites. You could also pin the tabs and have all of the pages open every time you open the browser. Either strategy will work, just make sure you check in frequently since the deadlines for submitting you application are very short.

 

Sign up here to get regular email updates and free activities delivered to your inbox. 

Punnett Squares

 

Inheritance Patterns: Punnett Squares

Recently my class was finishing up the unit on genetics and learning how to do a variety of punnett squares.

Click here for to receive an email copy of this lesson.

Prior to completing this punnett square activity students should have already have had exposure to examples, of complete dominance, incomplete dominance, co-dominance, multiple alleles and dihybrid crosses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After students have had some practice with those punnet squares, this activity will serve as a review or a great gauge for your their understanding of the content.

 

 

 

 

 

In this activity,  students will complete each punnett square (1 through 6) in order. Student will only receive one punnett square at a time and will only get the next one when they have correctly completed the preceding punnett square with their partner or independently. I have found that students generate great conversation when working together to complete these punnett squares.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each new punnett square will add a degree of difficulty as they progress through the activity. I walk around with folders that contain the problems. As they get them correct I give them the next problem.

If students complete the activity within 25 minutes I offer them a homework pass. The homework pass incentive takes their effort up a notch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student always enjoy this and the discussion that take places are amazing.

Click here to receive this activity directly to your inbox!

If you like this you will love our Biochemistry boxing activity!

The Best Assessment Strategy to Increase Achievement in Biology

The Best Assessment Strategy to Increase Achievement in Biology

One of my favorite models for assessing students in Biology comes from my current district. Even throughout my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction I have not seen a better method for assessing students and holding them to a high standard.

In the assessment model that we currently use in the Science department, we allow students to complete retakes on quizzes which consists of about one chapter/topic worth of content.

There are multiple versions of each quiz  i.e version a,b,c which are all the same questions just ordered differently for quiz and exam security and authenticity purposes.

Note: Students have been known to take pictures of quizzes/tests and sell them to other students. Be vigilant. NO PHONE or DEVICES when a quiz/exam is being used.

In addition there are re-quiz versions that are  mostly different questions with the same content. If a students fails a quiz and wants to improve their grade they can. However, students must complete test corrections and tutoring one day and re-quiz the following day. (ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING)

Re-quiz  Procedures:
  • Students can only achieve up to a 90% on a re-quiz.
  • They can only re-quiz once.
  • For me, re-quizzes are slightly more difficult because I want them to know their stuff if they are going to make me put time into regrading I want them to know their stuff. I let them know they are slightly more difficult.
  • If they get a lower score they do not take the lower score but I mention that if it occurs more than once I may change that.
What can’t they redo?

After we cover a unit of study, usually 3 or 4 chapters/topics, we take a Unit Exam worth 3 about times more than a quiz grade. These are NOT able to be retaken. This is where students demonstrate what they know. (ASSESSMENT OF LEARNING)

The Unit Exams offer me the ability to say confidently that the student know their stuff if the get an A in my course which demonstrates mastery of the content.

This assessment model also holds them accountable for actually learning the content and even if they do not do well on a particular topic.

A 2-3 day review/reteaching is done prior to the exam through labs and various activities such as quizlet live and kahoot. Again, this is another opportunity for students to solidify their content knowledge or relearn areas they struggled in.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Students have an opportunity to improve their learning and their grade.
  • It is extremely helpful at parent conferences to have mention that re-quizzes are available to the student.
  • Increase pass rate for the state assessments.
  • Puts the pressure on the students to achieve and takes pressure off of the teacher if they do not.
Cons
  • Not all student care enough to take advantage of it.
  • Some students care too much about a single point to get to the 90% and you will have to regrade a whole quiz for one point!
  • It requires a lot of work and time up-front to create multiple versions of high quality assessments.
  • It requires a lot of regrading = more time. However, I rewrote many quizzes to use Zipgrade and it has saved tons of time.
  • Your school schedule may not easily accommodate time for tutoring and re-quizzes. We have a 30 minute study period built in.

 

What are your thoughts or strategies? Comment Below.

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Evolution Activity

Teaching evolution is a difficult topic for a variety of reasons however, this is one activity that my students truly enjoy.

To begin the class period, I give the students each several pieces of printer paper. I keep them in suspense about what they are actually going to do with it. After all the students are ready I reveal my “artistic” rendition of a fish by revealing a PPT slide with my drawing on it like the one below.

 

 

 

 

 

After 90 seconds  of drawing students are instructed to put their pencils down and tape their fish to the board.

I explain to them that the fish they drew represents it’s offspring and as they can see there are variations between them. I continue to explain that though the differences in our fish are quite exaggerated, in sexually reproducing organisms variations exist. I then mention that environmental pressures also exist.

I ask the students to share some thoughts about what type of environmental pressures exist.

After the students identify the types of environmental pressure I then take the role of environmental pressure and start ripping their “beautiful” fish drawings off of the board to indicate that they have died and are not able to  reproduce.

In the end, 2 fish remain and the original female fish dies (old age or eaten by predator). At this stage, I ask the students to look at the two drawings and create an offspring fish drawing from the 2 parents. Students are given 90 seconds to complete their drawing. Again, they tape it to the board.

For round 2 of environmental pressure I include students as predators and also mention that some fish just die from freak accidents. This is done until only  2 fish remain. Sometimes I stop here and already have enough substantial structural differences in the fish to show how organisms change over time as a result of environmental pressure.

If more generations are needed and time permits the students will want to continue.

Students love this activity and you (teacher) will always have something to reference as you continue the discussion on how organisms change over time (evolve).

I start the class with this quick five question kahoot that touches on different pieces of evidence for evolution.

 

 

 

Food Web Activity

Food Web Activity

In this hands-on food web activity, students use manipulatives to correctly arrange the food web using the descriptions of the organisms provided. After students correctly arrange the food web they have to identify the trophic levels and the energy levels based on the given energy units. In addition, I have students identify the carnivores, omnivore, herbivores, parasites, consumers and heterotrophs. This activity is great for a review or teaching the content to them the first time. There is a worksheet that goes along with it. It is amazing how much students do not remember even though they have had this concept in the middle school. All of the misconceptions are exposed during this activity. Check out the video I use below to introduce the topic and engage my students. It is incredible.

Get the printable version of this activity here

 

 

 

 

 

Battle at Kruger

Each year I use this video to introduce ecology. It definitely is one of the most engaging videos I show. Watch it all the way through. So much happens!

Cell Sidewalk Chalk Activity

Last week the weather broke and we had near record high temperatures for February. I decided to do an impromptu outdoor Cell Sidewalk Chalk Activity.  The students really enjoyed having the opportunity to get outside and so did I. They created some beautiful cell drawings (I am slightly bias) and labeled the functions using a color coded key. You can get a copy of the handout I created here. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prefixes and Suffixes with 9 Quizzes

Use these prefixes and suffixes help you students. One of the biggest struggles for students in Biology and Science is vocabulary. To help your students learn the foundations of many of the “big words” used in Biology, introduce them to these 90 prefixes and suffixes. I give the students 10 words each week. Depending on the class, I either assign them to learn on their own with a weekly quiz or we go over a few terms each day after the bell ringer and then quiz weekly. After we get through all 90 words I give them a quiz with 10 words chosen randomly from the first 45 words and another quiz the following week with 10 randomly chosen the remaining 45 words.

Update: I have made a Quizlet for the each set of first 45 and last 45 terms.

Here they are: I use these in the class with Quizlet live prior to the 1-45 and 46-90 quizzes.

1-45 prefixes and suffixes review on Quizlet

46-90 prefixes and suffixes review on Quizlet

Bonus: I have also created a Quizlet the includes the prefixes and suffixes but it applies them to Biology vocabulary terms.

Click Here for a Copy of the 90 Prefixes and Suffixes and 9 Quizzes

 

 

 

Mealworm Inquiry Lab

This week my students have been working on the Mealworm Inquiry Lab. In this lab, students apply everything they have learned about experimental design by creating their own experiment using mealworms (Superworms actually). Superworms can be purchased at the local pet store and are great for this activity. The Superworms do not jump on the kids and they move slow enough to easily control. They also have an interesting life cycle that the students learn about in their research.  In this inquiry lab, students make observations, conduct research, develop a question, identify variables, create a hypothesis, create procedures,  create choice chambers for their experiment, collect data, analyse data and draw a conclusion based on their results.

GET YOUR COPY HERE

Here are some example of their set up:

Note: About 40% of the students in this class have an IEP. The experiments were not perfectly controlled but this lab offers so much opportunity to address their weakness through questioning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have the students create a lab report when they are finished using my lab report rubric and guide

Hypothesis Practice- Get your Students to Practice Hypothesis Writing

Hypothesis Practice

This week my students practiced writing a hypothesis. To practice writing a hypothesis have  your students complete this engaging activity that gives the them a chance to practice their hypothesis writing.  This activity requires a 2 liter bottle, water and tape (masking or painting). Prepare the bottle by drilling three holes vertically in a straight line  about and inch apart. The holes should be  slightly smaller than a pencil eraser. I have used scissors and twisted them until the a hole was made but a drill is much easier if you have it.  Once the holes are drilled place some tape over the holes and fill it with water.

3 hole bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your bottle is now ready for the class.  Prior to getting started  with the hypothesis practice have the students create a chart that looks like the one below making sure they save room to write inside the chart. If students are using an interactive notebook have them place this chart on the right side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left side of the their interactive notebook students will record their initial observations and their sketch. When students are done  with the entire activity it will look like this.

Student digital example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To begin this activity, walk around the room to each student so they can closely observe the bottle and record their observations. This is where  you can emphasize details in their observation records. After walking around ask the class for a volunteer who isn’t afraid of water. Bring the student to the front of the class and sit them in a desk and give them a paper towel to put on top of their head (optional).  The only purpose for involving a student is for dramatic effect and student engagement and it works very well! They shouldn’t actually get more than a drop or two of water on them if all goes well.  While holding the bottle over the volunteers head ask the class to record their hypothesis about what will happen when the tape is pulled past the first hole. Ask students to write the hypothesis as an “if-then” statement. Have the students share their hypothesis with the class. Next, pull the tape past the first hole while holding it over your volunteers head. If everything is done correctly, no water will come out of the first hole. Students record their observations and record why they think it happened the way it did or any questions they may have.  Move on and repeat this for the next two holes. Have the students make a hypothesis before each  a new hole is exposed. Water will come out of the next two holes so I strategically have a trash can to catch the water and avoid getting it on the volunteer. Though this activity is simple, students love it.

I overheard one of my IEP students talking to the Coteacher and he said: “This is actually pretty fun!”

Try it out. Comment below on how it goes!

 

Independent and Dependent Variable Worksheet

Independent and Dependent Variable Worksheet

Many students struggle when learning about the independent and dependent variable. When teaching them the independent and dependent variable I try to simplify the two terms to be as simple as possible but still allow students to apply the definitions to an actual scientific experiment or scenario.

The independent variable can be defined as the variable that is manipulated. It is what the experimenter is adding to the experimental group. To simplify the independent variable for students I use the single word (changed) for the definition.

The dependent variable can be defined as the responding variable. The depend variable  can be simplified for students by mentioning that the dependent variable is the variable that is measured or counted.

To help my students get plenty of practice with this concept I have created a simple independent and dependent variable worksheet that gives them  some practice applying the independent and dependent variable to actual experiments.

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IV and DV Scenarios-PDF

Classroom Management

Classroom Management

One of my most successful tools in managing my class is the student intervention form. This form is great on so many levels.  The form requires me to conference with students whenever they are not following the classroom procedure.  It allows the student(s) to know that if expectations are not met they will conference with the teacher (step out of the room or to the back of the room). The form requires a signature as well. When students see the form the usual response is “What is this?” That is when I explain what happens next and they can see it on the form! They know I am documenting evidence of their behavior because they are apart of the processes. The best part of this classroom management practice (other than the fact that it works), is that when you get to the end and send the referral to the office, administration is going to see what has already been done with the students signature all over it. With this type of documentation your administrator is more likely to take real action. Though there are distinct levels on this form, I have skipped over steps depending on the level of the infraction. There are no rules for using it but I do know that when the students see it, it make the situation very real for them even if it is a minor infraction. It gets results when managing a classroom.

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Collaboration with the Span System

Today’s class involved my students collaborating to identify areas in the community that were environmental issues and then proposing solutions. Students worked together to categorize their solutions on the spam wall. The Nureva Span system at our school covers about 20feet and allows 20 touchpoints at a time.This system is incredible  and the students love it. We are lucky to be one of the few schools to have one. This is definitely something I would put on your school leaders radar!!