Science Education

Order of operations in math equations; a new take on explaining PEMDAS

September 29, 2014

A recent discussion on the NSTA physics teacher list, the question of “order of operations” came up.  In math, the order of operations defines which operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.) one performs first. A writer asked for solutions to the following expressions: 2 + (3 x 2) + 3 (2 + 3) x (2 + […]

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Correlations and Scatter Plots

September 14, 2014

After a couple of hand-graphs, my students use their TI 83/84 calculator for graphing. We set the calculators so they give an “R squared” correlation, which we often use to help determine which regression type (linear, quadratic, power) fits the data the best. Many of my students have a hard time understanding the nature of […]

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If a nucleus is full of positively charged protons, why doesn’t it fly apart?

March 27, 2014

In my physical science class this week, I realized the textbook was introducing the structure of the atom and positive and negative charges, but not answering addressing the clear question that follows the presented information is “what the heck keeps all those protons together in the nucleus?” The book does get around to the nuclear […]

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A radical idea: Treat teachers like plumbers…

November 3, 2013

This weekend, while attending a Model United Nations convention with my MUN students, I got to talking with a few colleagues and discussing how people become teachers. Here are the basic steps to becoming certified as a teacher in California: Pay lots of money to get a BA/BS at your favorite university. If you want […]

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Next Generation Science Standards, second draft published

January 11, 2013

The second draft of the Next Generation Science Standards were released this week. You can find them all here: www.nextgenscience.org/next-generation-science-standards You can search them here: www.nextgenscience.org/search-standards-dci I have exported pages containing all DCI Arranged Standards – Public Release High School only.

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Results of online grading survey

December 3, 2012

Last week I posted a survey of online grading practices. I announced the survey through several email lists I participate in [1], as well as on my Facebook “wall”. The survey was open for five days, and resulted in 164 responses. I make no attempt to pass this survey off as statistically accurate representation of […]

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Survey of teacher use of online grading systems and their implementation

November 28, 2012

If you teach at a middle school or high school, please take a couple minutes to answer this survey. I will post results here in mid-December 2012. (Apologies for the multiple scroll bars.) I’ve reached the capacity of the free Survey Monkey site (100 responses!), so I’m making a copy of it. If the survey […]

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Grading labs: A faster method using pre-printed return address labels.

May 18, 2012

Grading tends to be the biggest time consuming task for teachers. For those teachers who want students to complete lab write-ups that truly reflect discover and learning, providing feedback on labs can be an even more daunting task. This year I started using a system that has significantly sped up grading the mechanics of the […]

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Newton’s Laws and shopping carts falling out of truck

April 21, 2012

Watch the following video, the try to answer the questions below it: What is happening to the truck and the carts when the carts start following off the truck? What causes the carts to fall off the truck? While the truck is moving, the left row of carts doesn’t fall off the truck. Can you […]

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Modeling Instruction: Review of acceleration lab

March 15, 2012

I’ve been using Modeling Instruction in my physics class for the past five years, and keep wondering how to handle the problem of students who miss the whiteboard sessions (where students share their results and we reach class conclusions). These sessions are critical for student growth, as this is where they are challenged to look […]

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