Teachers’ Toolbox

 Copyright 2009 | About this blog


Science Education at Blog on the Universe

Blog on the Universe is a rather unique science education blog. It is not a content aggregator. It is not a clearinghouse or listing for educational resources and products. It is not a science news outlet where posts are specifically dedicated to coverage of the latest news stories, and once the story is old, the post is no longer useable except as a matter of historical record. It’s true that one of the five flavors of posts here at the Blog is actually called Teachable Moments in the News. But I only use a news story as a natural ‘hook’—the incentive—to write a Post that is enduring. An example—I used the space shuttle flight in May 2009 for the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope to ask the question: “Where is outer space?” (See The Business Trip.) It is a Post that will never get old.


At BotU I’m working to create Posts dedicated to the understanding of powerful concepts in the Earth and space sciences—concepts that are timeless, and are directly relevant to National Science Education Standards and AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy. My goal is to create a ‘library’ of ‘evergreen‘ Posts addressing a vast range of content—Posts that will be as useable 5 years from now as they are today.


Given the significant amount of content already on the Blog, I’ve created a Teachers’ Toolbox—a suite of tools that allows teachers and parents to easily identify Blog content that is relevant to the curriculum, and to captivating stories in the news. The current tools in the Toolbox:


Teachers Lesson Planner

The Teachers Lesson Planner is a listing of all the Posts in the library catalogued by subject, and for each Post there is a quick summary of the essential questions, concepts, learning objectives, required math skills, and special features. The idea is that each Post can support a lesson in the classroom that powerfully addresses curricular requirements, and more importantly—helps teachers move science education away from memorization of irrelevant facts, and toward critical thinking, science as process owned by the student, and conceptual understanding.


Teachable Moments in the News—QuickLinks

What’s very cool about creating a library of Posts is that whenever there is a high profile news story, instead of writing a new Post, I can often pull existing Posts off my library shelf to help teachers explain the concepts behind the story. The result is a means of bringing current science rapidly into the classroom—in a manner relevant to the curriculum. And instead of just reporting the “What, Why, When, and Where”, you can create a Teachable Moment in the News grounded in conceptual understanding at an emotional level.


I created Teachable Moments in the News—QuickLinks as a tool to seamlessly connect the Blog’s existing Posts and Pages to stories in the news.


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