How does science education work?
August 19, 2012 5:44 PM   Subscribe

What's important for me to know about being a science teacher, since I've only taught math but will now be training teachers of both contents?

Soon, I'll be teaching a pedagogy class to secondary (grades 6-12) math and science teachers. I have extensive experience around math and math education, but my knowledge around science is limited. I'm not as concerned with science content as I am about science pedagogy - that is, what do I need to know about teaching science, that math teachers wouldn't necessarily know about?

What I feel like I know about so far:
-best practices that generally transcend content areas - writing objectives, checking for understanding, building classroom culture, classroom management, etc etc
-general best practice around inquiry-based learning, investigations, groupwork, since I did a lot of that when I taught math and have learned so much more since then (but I'd love to hear about these more specifically for science teachers)
-general best practice around literacy, and promoting literacy across contents (though again, feel free to point me to specific science-literary resources)

What I've been looking into:
-science standards for my state
-5E, 7E models

One big hole (at least, from my point of view) in my current understanding is around logistics: what does it look like, running a lab? What does it look like, planning a science lesson around the 5- or 7-E models? (Sure, it can vary from teacher to teacher/school to school, etc, but seriously, whatever you think is a good resource I will look at!) But I'm also sure I have other holes without realizing it.

So: what don't I know about teaching science since I've never done it before? I'm interested in hearing about your experiences around teaching science, and any links/books you'd recommend as resources for me or for the new teachers I'll be working with.
posted by violetish to Education (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Of course at the secondary level each lab will look different (physics, chem, bio). I'm assuming all of the teachers coming out of your class will not be in an integrated science classroom. That said, as a former undergrad teacher in chemistry I would say safety guidelines are key. This goes for any lab whether you are dealing with chemicals, sharp objects, etc. Observations and safety go a very long way.

*** Always want MSDS sheets on hand.
*** Always be aware and communicate safety guidelines for the lab including what students are wearing, etc.

Check out the National Science Teachers Association. I am sure they post helpful and related content regularly.
posted by MyMind at 6:43 PM on August 19, 2012

IMHO the most important thing to know about teaching science how to convey what science really IS.

Science is not a bunch of facts about our world, like the sun is 93M miles away, or that the genetic structure is in the shape of a double helix.

Science is an organized method of determining the truth, what are or are not facts, what can or cannot be verified. It is a way of gaining new knowledge and continually testing and verifying what is true.

We convey this to our students when we continually ask them to develop hypothesis, ways to test the hypotheses and use the results to draw meaningful conclusions.

"How do you know that?"

posted by gnossos at 7:14 PM on August 19, 2012

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