Check out my store:

6th, 7th, 8th - Science, Education -

January 11, 2012

A Freebie You Cannot Miss!

Go to the link below to download my newest Freebie on the Nature of Science. This is a must read for any teacher interested in teaching inquiry based science!
Freebie: What is the Nature of Science and Why Should I teach it?

January 8, 2012

Teachers' Grab Bag

Check out the following freebies for science teachers.

Earth Exploration Toolbook. This collection of activities teaches high school and college learners how to work with and interpret environmental science data sets.

National Nuclear Science Week Resources. This website contains resources and lesson plans to help middle and high school educators address nuclear science concepts in the classroom.

Alliance for Climate Education's High School Resources. Here you will find climate education resources for high school students and teachers, including lesson plans, environmental club project ideas, and climate information links for educators.

Encyclopedia of Life. This is a great source of online biodiversity resources for high school and college educators. It includes interactive tools that allow users to gather, customize, and save content.

Schools of Thought Blog. This new blog from CNN covers umbrella issues in education such as student, teacher, and parent accountability; bullying; and current education topics in the news.

Edheads Game Website. This site features educational games focused on science, math, and critical thinking.

Biology Lectures and Short Talks. Here you can find full-length video lectures on various biological concepts that move from broad introductions and progress to research questions and experiments.

NBC Learn. Produced by NSF and NBC Learn, these multimedia learning series for middle and high school levels feature videos, documents, images, and lesson plans.

If you have additional resources, please add them to this post!

January 5, 2012

Grants for your classroom!

I wanted to let you all know about an incredible site I have used over the years to bring new resources into my classroom. DonorsChoose allows teachers to create grant requests for just about anything. The application process is fairly short and well worth your time. After submitting a proposal, donors from all over the country are able to give any amount to help fund your grant. I have been able to successfully fund over $5000 worth of materials for my classroom including books, a set of hominid skulls, and garden tools. In fact, every project I have submitted to Donorschoose has been funded! To see my past proposals, check out this link:

If you have other sites for classroom grants, please respond!

January 4, 2012


Here is one of the free products I am offering at my store. This lesson helps students understand how science works. Feel free to download it and check it out. If you find it useful, please take to time to rate my product on the Teachers Pay Teachers website.

Nature of Science: Understanding Collaboration and Bias
This product helps students understand the process of how scientific knowledge is generated.

January 1, 2012

Top Technology Websites from 2011

For the new year, I have compiled a list of my favorite technology sites that I have used consistently in my classroom. Each of these sites is amazing and worth checking out. Best of all, they are absolutely free!

1. Khan Academy
This site has phenomenal content for math, science and other subjects. The site has thousands of free videos along with a huge variety of practice problems for students to use. Best of all, the site keeps tracks of student progress and rewards their progress with badges. Teachers can easily monitor how their students are doing on an individual basis.

2. Quizlet
This site allows students to create their own list of vocabulary words, make digital flashcards, and then play games to help them learn these new words. Students can also input their own definitions. Another great feature is the spelling game which helps students learn how to spell these new words. Students can easily log in and update their word lists from home or school.

3. Typing Web
This site allows both teachers and students to monitor each of their students' typing accuracy as they progress through a series of lessons. Students can easily access their own accounts from home or from school. The lessons start with the basics and progress through all levels of typing (intermediate and advanced).

4. NASA: Global Climate Change
NASA has created some amazing visuals and simulations to help students learn about global climate change. The site includes many different types of evidence and stunning graphics. From the main page, be sure to check out the EXPLORE tab on the right hand side.

5. ACS Middle School Chemistry
An entire curriculum for middle school students featuring inquiry based learning activities that can be created with inexpensive materials.

6. AMNH: The Known Universe
This simulation from the American Museum of Natural History is unbelievable. The video gives us a realistic perspective of just how small we really are.

I hope you and your students enjoy these sites as much as I have! Happy New Year! If you have any additional sites you would like to add, please let me know.

August 5, 2009

Webtools Course Reflection

The past eight weeks have been a crazy adventure into the world of technology. Although at times the class has been overwhelming with content, I think this has been a necessary evil because of the sheer number of new classroom applications. I appreciated having to actually explore and create products of these technologies as part of our class work. I learn best by doing and this course had plenty of that! What I have found most powerful is the repository we have all created of our thoughts, ideas and projects – the blog. My blog will help me sort through and remember many of the new ideas that have been introduced during this course. I tried to be as detail oriented as possible with each of my blog entries to help document all we have learned. There are so many great ways to incorporate technology into my classroom. One of my favorite technologies is how to create ScreenCasts and upload them onto the web. I plan to use ScreenCasts to help me document for students how to navigate to certain Websites or presentations. Hopefully this will help save time because I will not have to explain the directions over and over.
I also thought it was very important to create and re-visit our guiding principles for using technology. These principles will help guide me as I further explore the technology applications we learned during this course. I now have a template from which to judge the relevance and value of each application I may want to share with my students. Most importantly, I have learned not to do technology just for the sake of doing technology.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this course was the development of my personal learning network. My PLN has given me the ability to effectively communicate with other science educators. We can easily share lesson plans, new technologies, and out thoughts as we navigate through the world of science education. I hope my PLN continues to grow throughout my teaching career.

August 3, 2009

Final Projects

For my final Webtools class project, I have designed a Wiki site that will serve the following purposes:
1. Connect teachers with valuable resources that focus on technology and inquiry-based science.
2. Provide a safe platform onto which students can build an online portfolio that will include their class work, thoughts, opinions and discussions.
3. Enable me to organize and make accessible my lesson plans, homework assignments, state standards, expectations, class calendars and other links of interest.

My Wiki page contains a Technology Page onto which I have placed all of the information we have learned in this class along with ideas from another MSSE course I took earlier this summer: EDCI 580, Teaching Technology in the Science Classroom. Topics addressed include Wiki pages, Social Education Networks, Educational Videos, Images for Science, Computer Simulations, Blogs, Google Earth, Online Data Collections, Web-Based Science Inquiry Projects, PowerPoint Presentations, Screencasting, Voicethreads, and a section on the importance of technology.

The Inquiry-Resource Page includes freely downloadable books, websites, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and sections that discuss constructivism, the 5E Learning Cycle, and misconceptions. This page is a collaboration of information I gained from this course in addition to another MSSE course I took this summer: EDCI 580,Teaching Inquiry in the Science Classroom. There is also another page that contains Video Podcasts of discrepant events that apply to the engage phase of the 5E Learning Cycle. Video topics include the sponge canon, inertia, flame vortex, transfer of energy, carbonation, the crushed can, the firemill explosion, super-cooled water and poppers.
The Wiki also includes a separate page for each of the students in all of my classes (over 80 separate pages total). Each student page will be used as an online portfolio, where students can upload class projects, videos, presentations and journal entries. In order to protect student confidentiality and prevent students from sabotaging each other’s Wiki page, I plan on giving my students clear guidelines and rules to follow regarding acceptable Wiki behavior. One great feature of Wiki pages is that they allow you (as the administrator) to see who edited what page and when it happened. In addition, if someone's Wiki page gets screwed up or deleted, you have the power to see all of the changes and revert back to a previous version of the page before it was edited. I will be able to see who sabotaged the page, prevent that student from having editing privileges in the future, and fix the page that was sabotaged. In regards to student confidentiality, I have the power (as the administrator) to decide who can view the pages and who can edit the pages. At the beginning of the year, I will invite all students and parents to view the Wiki pages. To do this, they will have to send me an email and then I will have to confirm each person. I can also create Wiki pages that are password protected. Although the system has really been created to address all of these concerns, I am sure more will arise during the upcoming school year. Click here to see an example of a student portfolio page.
As mentioned above, the Wiki will also help me to organize my courses. There is a class calendar that will be updated weekly to communicate homework assignments and science topics we are studying. There are also course pages (for each of the four science classes I teach) that include lesson plans, video clips, links to animations, and downloadable documents of unpacked state standards for each topic. Each document contains the standard, evidence outcomes, inquiry questions, how to apply the scientific concept in society using technology, and how to incorporate the nature of science. The course pages will be open to the general public (viewable, not editable) so that everyone can utilize these resources.
In addition to this Wiki page, I plan to incorporate a blog for my vegetable garden class onto which students will document everything we do as we design and create our school vegetable garden. The blog will also give students a place to journal about growing plants and incorporate pictures of the garden and other resources. The blog has already been started and can be found here: Garden Blog.
Finally, I plan to have students create a database of water quality data we have been collecting for numerous years on the nearby Crystal River. The program, known as RiverWatch allows students from all over Colorado to monitor local stream quality data by measuring temperature, pH, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen content, and hardness. Students will test the water on a monthly basis and the data will be entered onto an online database found here: This data base allows students to contribute to scientific data and help to make a difference! The program also involves them in authentic inquiry-based investigations.