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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Keep It Current!


A current event a day, keeps the  boredom away!

A current event each day is standard operating procedure in my biology classroom.  Each day after school, I spend a few minutes surfing the web looking for interesting bits of science news that I can share with my students the following day.  I try to make it biology-related if possible, but lately I have been sharing all the amazing stories about the Mars rover, Curiosity.  If possible, I use my projector to show images from the news story.  I give a very brief synopsis of the article and allow a few minutes for students to comment or ask questions.  If I can find a current event that involves decision making on the part of the student, all the better!

Our students are going to be voters soon and they need to informed if we expect them to make informed decisions.  I love articles that deal with the environment, global warming, stem cell research, endangered species, etc., since these are topics our students will have to deal with in their adult lives.  When I first decided to do this in my classes, it was very sporadic.  Soon, I realized that my students really looked forward to this time in my class, so I began to have a current event more frequently.  High school students rarely give compliments to their teachers.  They may love your class, but may not tell you so until you see them in the grocery store years later!  So last week, when one of my students commented that they really looked forward to current event time, I was delighted to know that my efforts were appreciated.

One problem that might occur if you decide to try this in your classes:  Students will want to talk about the issue for a longer period of time than you can allow!!  It takes a bit of training at first, but my students now know that when I say "Let's move on to our lesson for today." that definitely means "Let's move on!"

I am always on the lookout for new sites to use as sources of current event information, but these are the ones I use most often, and have remained my favorites:

Google News:  The left side bar has the news divided up into topics.  Scroll down and click on "science."

National Geographic:  There is so much to love here!  My favorite areas of this site are Photo of the Day, Featured Video and Daily News.

Smithsonian.com:  This is just an amazing plethora of interesting information.  Click on the tab at the top of the page called "Science and Nature."

Science News:  Not as visually attractive as the above sites, but what a great source of information!  And the sister site is called "Science News for Kids."

Science Daily:  I like this site, but it can get very technical.

Scientific American:  You can't beat this site.  Check out the "Citizen Science" area.  I have had my students get involved with these activities and they are a lot of fun!

NASA Science:  Lately, I have been using this site quite a bit.  My students are very interested in hearing about the Mars rover.

EurekAlert!  Great source of current information!

USA News Science:  Content is provided by the National Science Foundation

LiveScience:  Love, love, love!

Science Illustrated:  Amazing photographs!

Discover:  "Nuff said!

I have so many others that I love as well!!  I will update the list as I have time!

Have fun teaching!!








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