Monday, March 28, 2011

Bring Science Alive with Technology!

As a science teacher, one of my greatest teaching tools is the Internet, and I marvel at some of the fabulous opportunities it offers for both teachers and students.   I try to keep the following words in mind when planning a lesson for students – "Provoke, Relate, Reveal and Involve'. Using the Internet allows me to PROVOKE the students with an interesting question or topic. I can RELATE the topic to them through videos, animations or first-person accounts. I can REVEAL information to them, and lastly (and most importantly), I can INVOLVE them in the process.  Here are some fun and easy suggestions for how you can incorporate the Internet into your teaching practice.

  • Look up “animations” for your topic – I teach Geography / Earth Science and have found some excellent websites with quick animations to demonstrate plate tectonics, the rock cycle, weathering, erosion and more.  There are some excellent animation websites for biology, chemistry and physics.  Try the Interactive Activities page to get yourself started
  • Use YouTube, Vimeo, SchoolTube, and TeacherTube – all are invaluable and I use them almost daily.  Instead of talking about avalanches, why not go to YouTube and watch a video of a snowboarder racing for his life?  The same can be said for just about anything else -the sound of volcanic mud pots gurgling and sputtering can never be put into words or pictures! Have students sign up to present their favorite “Science Video of the Week” to involve them in the process.
  • I have a “current events” segment in my class at least once a week – science is happening, and it is happening right now!  Even if we’re not studying earthquakes, I’ll spend some time in class talking about what’s currently going on in Japan, because it’s science in action.  Why not keep up to date on NASA’s latest, keep an eye on crazy weather, have your finger on the pulse of biology research, or learn what’s happening in chemistry or physics? It doesn’t take long to find out by doing a quick Google search.  Have your students look up current events in your topic area, sign up for a week, and then present their information to the class.
  • Your local news station is an excellent website to check out – I miss the days of a VCR when it was easy to tape a short news segment on a science topic and bring it in to class.  Now, I can visit the news website and easily show the clip I want.
  • It’s always important to preview anything you find online… you never know when someone’s going to say or do something inappropriate.  Remember to re-check websites you haven't visited in a while, as content on the Internet can change rapidly.
  • If you don’t have access to the Internet at school, or if the video sites are blocked in your district, you can download RealPlayer so that you can save videos to your computer. Another option is to use the website KeepVid to download YouTube videos.

Have fun!

Addie Williams
Addie Williams' TPT Store

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  1. Addie,

    Thanks for a very well done article!!

  2. You're very welcome! I enjoyed writing it.

  3. Nice tips and resources Addie! I have just recently found Free Tech Resources for Teachers - love it! Also loving your current events in science idea! I do this with math students in my classroom. It is very important to make sure kids know the real-life applications of the subjects which they are learning. It really makes it more meaningful. Great job!

  4. Thanks for all of the great links!


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