QnA: Developing skills for scientific enquiry

Originally posted on Science for Life. 365:
Sarah: Last week I spoke about science writing and blogging to postgraduate journalism students at the University of South Australia. Following the lecture, the students and I had a great Q&A session which has now spilled over into email conversations. Today a student sent me these two great questions: Query: I was interested in…

Five myths about the chemicals you breathe, eat and drink

The use of the Appeal to Nature fallacy to sell products, particularly foods, drinks, cleaning products and health products, is pervasive and dangerous. The use of the terms “chemical-free”, “organic” and even “permeate-free” have for years perpetuated the fallacious idea that “natural = good” and “synthetic = bad” to everyday people. I really liked this article (below) from The … Continue reading

The Technology Process in the Australian Curriculum: Technologies

SPOILER ALERT: This post is very boring, unless you’re an Australian F-10 teacher, pre-service teacher or for some reason interested in what content is taught in the Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! I’ve written extensively about Technology education before; but that was in the context of the Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and … Continue reading

The Misuse of Neuroscience in Schools

Teachers are dedicated people, who devote not just their days to their students, but often their evenings, nights and weekends too. In all the effort to stay on top of day-to-day planning, preparing, assessment and reflection, it is difficult to stay on top of the research, and tempting to try the latest trend to engage … Continue reading

Remarkable Creatures

Remarkable Creatures

Originally posted on Science Book a Day:
By Tracey Chevalier Synopsis: On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, poor and uneducated Mary Anning learns that she has a unique gift: “the eye” to spot fossils no one else can see. When she uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home,…

Why is the moon still up there?

About a fortnight ago I received a text message at about 10 am from my mum. I don’t mind at all answering science questions like this one, but in my hasty text message reply I didn’t really do the moon – or my mum’s understanding of why she sometimes sees it during the day – justice. … Continue reading

Argumentation Experience of Pre-service Teachers

Argumentation Experience of Pre-service Teachers

Today, my final year primary and middle years Education students had a brief taste of argumentation for the science classroom. They prepared for class with the pre-seminar reading I assigned, Argumentation in Primary and Middle Schools, and brought to class the arguments they had prepared back in their first year for another course I teach (essentially, … Continue reading

University Course Student Feedback: Is it a waste of time?

A friend posted this article from the Guardian Higher Education to Facebook this morning: Academics Anonymous: student feedback is a waste of everyone’s time. The article had the byline “Collecting feedback on courses benefits neither staff nor students – often it’s biased, sexist or simply unrealistic” and was written, of course, by an anonymous academic. The … Continue reading

SOLO Taxonomy – Assessing Coherence and Consistence

A useful way of assessing the coherence and consistence of your students’ work is the SOLO Taxonomy. The Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome (SOLO) Taxonomy (Biggs & Collis, 1982) assesses student work, rather than skills or understandings. This is valuable as it emphasises the assessment of learning and outcomes over the assessment of personal characteristics that students … Continue reading

Argumentation in Primary and Middle Schools

The text for this post has been edited and adapted from the paper I presented at FISER ’14, and is pre-reading for a seminar I am giving to pre-service primary teachers next week.  “Thinking as argument is implicated in all of the beliefs people hold, the judgments they make, and the conclusions they come to; it arises every time … Continue reading

Inquiry Science in the Classroom

Last week, at the conference, Professor Joe Redish recommended these posts from the blog Infinite Spider to me. They are written by a lifelong learner, Ann Johnson, who also happens to be an experienced primary teacher, and they describe her experiences of teaching science using inquiry pedagogies in the primary science classroom. Part 1: Inquiry Based Science in the … Continue reading