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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Common Core Science Informational Text Task Cards



These task cards can be used with ANY science reading passage.

In my school, every teacher is required to teach subject area lessons that emphasize or reinforce Common Core standards.  One day each week, we run a special schedule in order to accomplish this.  During this time, I meet with a small group of my students to apply the Common Core standards to a science-related lesson.  It is my responsibility to provide my students with a science reading passage and to use this passage to practice one or more of the Common Core standards.  I have used the following:
  • Students read a passage from the textbook on a topic we are currently studying. 
  • Students read science-related current events articles.
  • I write my own passages that describe a particular lab experiment.  I include charts and graphs and tables that require analyzing.
  • Students read science-reasoning passages from ACT Prep books.
  • Students read chapters from science-themed books, such as The Double Helix, The Hot Zone, Your Inner Fish, etc.




As a result, I developed a set of “Common Core Science Task Cards” to use with my students each week.  Different task cards are used each week depending on the type of informational text I present to them.  

This has very much simplified my weekly lesson planning.  All I have to do is choose a reading passage, and select the task cards to use with it.  Not every card is used every time, and not all cards will be applicable to every reading passage.  Certain task cards are more applicable to a particular passage than others.  I try to vary the passages each week so that different Common Core standards are being reinforced.

These common core science task cards are incredibly easy to use!  Print them out, laminate them, cut them apart, and you are ready to go.  






I like to punch a hole in the corner and place all of the cards on a ring.  I found the rings at my local Wal Mart. They were very cheap and they came in a package containing quite a few rings.

I have correlated each task card with the appropriate CCSS standards from:
1.  English Language Arts Standards >> Science & Technical Subjects (Grades 6 – 12)
2.  English Language Arts Standards >> Reading: Informational Text (Grades 6 – 12)

Now that I have the set fully developed, I am looking forward to school starting back.  My weekly Common Core lesson planning is going to be a snap!

Have fun teaching!



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Amazing Secondary Teachers You Should Be Following on Pinterest




These Middle and High School Teachers Totally Rock!

I am delighted to bring this post to you today!  I have had the good fortune this past year of getting to know the teachers whose icons you see to the left. These teachers are passionate about their subject areas, they are innovative, they are inspiring, and they represent some of the best of the teaching profession. Not only are these educators amazing instructors, but they are some of the sweetest and kindest people out there.  These teachers represent a wide range of subject areas, from English Language Arts and Foreign Language, all the way to Math, Science  and Art!  I follow each and every one of these teachers on Pinterest and I thought you might like to, too. Their ideas are simply amazing!!  Let me introduce them to you:




The Tutor House
Bio:  Hi!  I'm Adrianne from The Tutor House.  I love tutoring and creating engaging lessons for math in reading for grades 3-8!  If you've ever thought about starting your own tutoring business, you should come on over to The Tutor House!

Follow Adrianne of The Tutor House on Pinterest.
TeachitWritelogo photo chalkboard-apple2_zps1805ea76.png 
Bio: Welcome! I am Connie from Teach it Write. I am a retired English teacher and Iím thrilled to now write curriculum full time that I love to share on my site http://teachitwrite.blogspot.com. My book, The House of Comprehension, shows how the elements of literature form the structure of any fiction or non-fiction text. Check it out on my blog site or on www.teachitwrite.com.

Follow Connie of Teach it Write on Pinterest.


2PeasAndADog Blog

Bio:  Hi Everyone! It's Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog. I am a Canadian middle school teacher who loves to pin and blog about things related to Grades 6 and up.

Follow Kristy of 2 Peas and a Dog on Pinterest.



MissMathDork
Bio:  Hiya there!  I'm Jamie but you may know me as MissMathDork! I am a lover of all things mathematical!  Patterns, sequences, geometric shapes, if it's mathematical, I'll find a way to make it fun!  Want to see some of my ideas? Check out my ideas and pictures at www.missmathdork.com!  You won't be disappointed!

Follow Jaime of Miss Math Dork on Pinterest.




Bio:  Hello, there. Iím Charlene Tess from Simple Steps to Sentence Sense. Grammar is my specialty. I have always loved taking sentences apart and putting them back together, and I successfully taught my students using the simple steps method for over three decades. Visit my blog to get helpful tips on grammar, usage, and writing.

Follow Charlene of Simple Steps to Sentence Sense on Pinterest.


Tammy Manor!   Bio:  Hi my name is Tammy and I've been teaching high school English for 13 years now. I know that teaching can be very stressful. My school is constantly changing the book list and I've taught every grade 6-12 as well. As a result I have unit plans for a large variety of novels, plays and memoirs. Come check out my store on TpT for a variety of ELA materials. Follow my blog for teaching related posts.

Follow Tammy on Pinterest.  

Bio:  Meet Sabrina, author of A Space to Create.  Find teaching resources for art teachers and classroom teachers alike. My art lessons teach students the creative process enabling them to build confidence and have amazing results.  Come visit my blog A Space to Create! (K-12)

Follow Sabrina of A Space to Create on Pinterest.


All Things Algebra
Bio: Hi there!  I'm Gina from All Things Algebra.  I have taught Algebra and Pre-Algebra for seven years and have a passion for creating activites and games that engage my students.  If you are interested in finding ways to have more fun in math class, head on over and check out my blog!

Follow Gina of All Things Algebra on Pinterest.



Numbers Rule My World

Bio: Hi! Iím Krystina from Numbers Rule My World. I love incorporating hands-on activities and technology into the classroom for Math: grades 7-9. If youíre looking for great ideas about math then you should come on over and check it out at Numbers Rule My World!

Follow Krystina of Numbers Rule My World on Pinterest.





4mulaFun Blog Fan
Bio:  Hello, my name is Jennifer Smith-Sloane. I am a Middle School Math and Special Education teacher. I have a strong passion for differentiated instruction to meet the needs of each learner in and out of my classroom. I love seeing the light in a student's eyes when something finally clicks and I do everything that I can to make that happen as often as it can.  Visit my blog 4mulaFun!

Follow Jennifer of 4mulaFun on Pinterest.

Innovative Connections
Bio:  Hey! I am Ann Marie from Innovative Connections. I enjoy blogging about various topics: Projects and lessons going on in my classroom, ideas I've learned or ideas I've thought of at the most random of moments (At 2 a.m. when I can't sleep, I can come up with some stellar ideas), teaching resources I find beneficial to fellow teachers and/or bloggers. Due to the wide range of grades I've had the pleasure of teaching, Innovative Connections caters mostly to language arts but loves to share and collaborate with teachers/bloggers of various grade levels.

Follow Ann Marie of Innovative Connections on Pinterest.

Bio:  This is Madame Aiello, author of Teaching FSL. Although I've taught other subjects as well, French as a Second Language has always been my passion. My focus is the higher grades, since I taught high school originally but teach grade 7 & 8 since six years ago. I share lots of resources, blog about second language teacher specific topics as well as those that apply to all teachers.

Follow Madame Aiello of Teaching FSL on Pinterest.




Liz's Lessons
Bio:  Bonjour! Hola! I'm Liz from Liz's Lessons. Languages are one of my passions, and I love teaching with technology. I create fun lessons for teaching secondary French, and Spanish. I also make formative assessments and technology activities in English, that can be used in any secondary classroom. If you are looking for some engaging activities for your classes, be sure to stop by Liz's Lessons!

Follow Liz of Liz's Lessons on Pinterest.


For the Love of Teaching Math
Bio: I'm Andrea Kerr from For the Love of Teaching Math. It is my mission to change traditional math classrooms one game and activity at a time. If you like to incorporate hands-on, group activities and games into your classroom, check out For the Love of Teaching Math!

Follow Andrea of For the Love of Teaching Math on Pinterest.

Addie Education ñ Teacher Talk

Bio:  I'm a middle / high-school teacher and I love to create ELA, Social Studies and Geography related resources.  I blog at Addie Education - Teacher Talk... come on by and see some of the fun things I do with my students.

Follow Addie Education on Pinterest.



Bio:  I'm a high school English teacher in a 1:1 school who loves books and fostering creativity. My blogs are Mrs. Orman's Classroom and Hunger Games Lessons. I share my teaching resources on TeachersPayTeachers.

Follow Tracee Orman on Pinterest.



Bio:  Hi! I'm Kim from Teaching Math by Hart. I am forever planning and thinking of new and innovative ways to teach math to my students. Why, you ask? Believe it or not, I think learning Math should be FUN and it should be REAL! If you are looking for some ideas to engage your students in math class, come check out Teaching Math by Hart - in the middle years classroom!




I know you already know me if you are a reader of my blog, but here is my short bio:
  

Bio:  Hi there!  My name is Amy Brown and I write a blog called "Science Stuff."  I am a 29-year teaching veteran of biology, chemistry and AP biology.  I love science and I love kids, so I have the best job in the world!  Hopefully, I have passed my love of nature and the environment on to many students.  My blog has tips and tricks for teaching science as well as a lot of free science teaching materials.  I hope to see you there!

Follow Amy of Science Stuff on Pinterest.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Microscope Task Cards are Here!


Great for review, reinforcement, or a lab practice style quiz!

I have been reading about task cards for quite some time.  I thought the idea was educationally sound, but I felt that the use of task cards would be a bit too elementary for my students.  I know I am really late to the game, but I finally decided to give them a try!  And boy, am I glad I decided to give them a try!

I have just completed my second set of task cards.  The first set was on the scientific method and this set is on the microscope and it's use.  I used both sets for reviewing for our state-mandated End of Course (EOC) test in Biology.  I came away thrilled with the outcome, and excited at the way my students responded to the use of these task cards.

I have just recently posted about task cards and the many different ways they can be used.  For fear of making this blog post sound like a broken record (I think I just showed my age with that reference!), you might want to click on this link and read my earlier blog post on task cards.

These microscope task cards are my newest addition to my teaching arsenal.  I set them up in lab practical style, and had the students rotate around the room until all stations had been completed.  This was a great idea since we are at the end of our school year.  The students were tired and antsy, and the movement around the room was good for them.

The set has 41 different task cards.

The following topics are covered:


Here is a view of 2 of the 41 task cards:

It comes with an answer sheet for the students.....

.....and a complete answer key for the teacher.

This is definitely a teaching tool that I will continue to use and develop.

For those of you who are out of school now, have a great summer!!



Monday, May 20, 2013

Scientific Method Task Cards



Have you tried task cards with your students?

Task cards are a fantastic way to reinforce lessons, review difficult concepts, or provide extra practice for the struggling student.   The student reads each card, performs the task, and records his/her answer on an answer sheet, on notebook paper, or in their lab notebook.


There are many ways to use the task cards. 
1.     As seen in the photo above, punch a hole in the corner and place them on a ring.  Hang them on a pegboard for use throughout the year.  When reviewing for tests or exams, students can select the set of cards from the pegboard for the topic that needs the most review.
2.     Set up a practice/review session by setting the cards up in a lab practical style.  Place one card at each station and have the students rotate through the stations until all stations have been completed.  My students love this format since it allows them to move about the room.  The task cards in this format are a great way to give a quiz or test.
3.     Use the cards in a game format.  Divide the class into teams.  Place the task cards face down in a basket.  A team selects a card at random and must complete the task for a point.
4.     Students can use a set of task cards in small groups and orally review one another for a unit test.

The task cards seen in the photo above are on the scientific method.  The face of science teaching is changing.  Common Core Science Standards, as well as the Next Generation Science Standards, are asking teachers to emphasis scientific concepts, rather than the memorization of large amounts of factual data.  Instrumental to these new standards is teaching the student how to design and implement an experiment of their own.  The first step in teaching the student-designed experiment is to provide the student with a complete and thorough understanding of the scientific method.

Most of the students entering my biology classes at the beginning of the school year can (in a very bored and monotone voice) recite the steps to the scientific method.  What we as teachers need to insure is that the student can actually APPLY the scientific method.  
  • Can the student read a passage and determine the independent and the dependent variables in the experiment?
  • Can the student identify the control and explain WHY it is the control?
  • Can the student look at a set of data and draw a logical conclusion?
  • Can the student design and implement an experiment?
I have a free PowerPoint and set of notes that you can use as a starting point in your teaching of the scientific method.  This free product can be viewed and downloaded here.   Once your instruction is complete, you might want to give these task cards a try.  I most often use the cards in a lab practical format.  Students rotate through the various stations and complete the task at each.   An example of one of the task cards is seen below.

 




The set includes 30 task cards.  Some of the "tasks" include:  
  • Writing a hypothesis.
  • Distinguishing between the experimental and control groups
  • Identifying the independent and dependent variables.
  • Drawing a conclusion based on given data.
Be sure to follow up your lessons on the scientific method by having your students design and implement an experiment of their own.  You can check out my blog post on student designed experiments by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by!
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Analysis of Local Ultraviolet Radiation: An End of the Year Web Quest



Need an end of the year activity that will benefit your students for the rest of their lives?

The dangers of ultraviolet radiation are well known.  The effects of ultraviolet radiation on living organisms should be ingrained in each and every science student passing through our classes. UV radiation is just a small portion of the energy from our sun that bombards the Earth.  Thankfully, the Earth is wrapped in a protective blanket, the ozone layer, that prevents much of the ultraviolet radiation from reaching Earth's surface.

Many of my students arrive in my biology class at the beginning of the school year confused about the differences between ozone destruction and the greenhouse effect.  They know that both involve our atmosphere in some way, and that both are bad for the Earth, but the distinctions between the two concepts are often blurred.

Ozone is a molecule composed of three atoms of oxygen.  The ozone layer is found in the upper atmosphere and protects the Earth by absorbing UV radiation from the sun.  Without this protective layer around the Earth, live on Earth would perish. Unfortunately, human activities are reducing the amount of ozone found in the atmosphere.


What effect will this have on the living organisms of Earth?

  • An increase in the number of malignant skin cancers.
  • An increase in cataracts.
  • Changes in plant physiological and developmental processes.  
  • Reduced survival rates of phytoplankton in the oceans.
As we send our students off for the summer, let's make sure that they understand the dangers of prolonged exposure to the sun.  At the end of each school year, I do an activity called, "Ouch That Burns!  Analysis of Local Ultraviolet Radiation."  In short, this is a web quest that allows the student to track the UV Index in their area over a period of time.

The EPA maintains a web site in which an individual can look up the ultraviolet radiation index each day for his/her area.  I have prepared several pages of worksheets that students will complete while they are visiting the EPA website.

In this activity students will:
  • Determine the UV Index for their local area.
  • Record data for the UV index over a period of time.
  • Determine the areas of our country that suffer from the highest UV indexes.
  • Gather data for UV indexes in their area over a period of one year.
  • Plot the data on a graph to show how the UV index changes throughout the year.
  • Determine the most dangerous time of year in their local area.
  • Determine how the UV Index has changed from years past.
  • Compile a list of health hazards to the living organisms on Earth.
  • Answer final analysis questions.

The three-page student handout has complete directions, questions, data tables, and graphing grid.  There is an accompanying 2-page teacher answer key.

This is a fun and informative activity that will greatly supplement your lessons on ecology, ozone depletion, and human influences on our delicate biosphere.  And, hopefully, we will teach our students to not only protect the earth, but to protect themselves from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.

I am very passionate in my teaching of ecology and the environment.  All of my ecology-related products can be viewed here.

Have fun teaching!





Sunday, May 12, 2013

YIKES!! The AP Biology Exam is Tomorrow!!


I guess I should calm down now.  It is Sunday, Mother's Day, and the day before the AP Biology Exam.  I should calm down, but my nerves are a wreck.  There is nothing more that I can do today to help my students.  I feel out of control because it is no longer in my hands.


I have 81 students who will be sitting for the exam in just about 24 hours from now.  They are a GREAT bunch of kids!!  I have worked them to death this year, and I never heard a single complaint from them.  They are a hard working bunch and they want to do well on the exam.

But who knows exactly what this new AP exam will be like??  We have worked many a math problem and I feel really good about that portion of the exam.   I am a bit (no, a lot!) nervous about only having 63 multiple choice questions, and I sure hope I have adequately prepared my students for the newly revised free response section.

I have a competitive personality.  I know this is not MY exam score, but the student's exam score.  But after working as hard as we have worked this year, I NEED the satisfaction of knowing that all of the hard work has paid off.  I'll be on pins and needles until those scores come in.

We still have 2 weeks of school left after the AP exam.  I really LOVE this time of the year.  My now "old" students will help me pass out books and summer assignments to the "new" students coming in next year.  We will walk up to the pond next to our school and feed the gazillion turtles that live there.  And watching the movie, GATTACA is always a favorite end of the year treat.

Good luck to all of my students on the exam tomorrow!!  Make me proud!!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Population Genetics: The Hardy Weinberg Equation


This fun lab simulation should guarantee that your students understand the Hardy Weinberg Principle!  
(I hope!)

I talk to a lot of biology teachers. Everyday. Some are in my school, some are at other schools in my district, others I know "virtually" from various message boards that I read and post to.  Through these communications, I have come to realize that many biology teachers do not include the Hardy-Weinberg Principle in their lesson planning.

I know that all biology teachers have their own "order of events" but for me a unit on genetics, followed by my unit on evolution is perfect.  In fact, I would be hard pressed to do it any other way.  The Hardy-Weinberg Principle is the link between genetics and evolution.  It is the proof that we offer to our students that populations are constantly changing and evolving.  It allows us to mathematically show that the frequency of a particular allele in a population can change over time.

Simply put:  Evolution is any change in the frequency of alleles in a population.  Evolution is the result of changes in the gene pool.  Two men, G. H. Hardy and W. Weinberg, proposed a mathematical model for detecting changes in the gene pool.



The Hardy-Weinberg Principle states:  “In the absence of mutation, migration, and natural selection, and in a population that is sufficiently large, the frequencies of alleles will remain the same.”  

The Hardy-Weinberg Principle is represented in the equation:


No population is free of these agents of change.  The Hardy-Weinberg equation is used to detect changes in the population from one generation to the next.  Since no population in nature is free of mutations, migrations, and natural selection, and since mating is rarely completely random in nature, of what value is the Hardy Weinberg Principle?  It allows us to detect changes in the gene pool, and therefore, determine that a population is in a state of change....Evolution!

My experience with my own students is that some of them have a little trouble grasping this concept. After introducing the topic and working through quite a few practice problems, I do a simulation lab.




Purpose:   
1.     To simulate how changes in the gene pool might occur by using the class as a breeding population of  individuals. 
2.     To observe how the Hardy-Weinberg equation is used to detect changes in allele frequencies in a population.

Materials:   PTC test papers,  Calculator,  Allele cards,  Coins, Pencil and paper

Safety Precautions:   None

The student handouts for this lab are numerous.....12 pages!  I usually run off a class set and have students record all of their information on notebook paper.  I use the class set throughout the day, and then I file them away for use the next year.

I have also included an 11-page teacher guide.  The teacher guide has tips and tricks for making the lab successful as well as answers to questions and solutions to problems.  Sample data is included to give you an idea of what to expect in the simulation.

Students begin the lab by determining the frequency of an allele in the class population.  I like to use PTC paper to determine if students are tasters or nontasters. But if PTC paper is not available, you can choose another trait such as the presence or absence of dimples, or the ability to roll the tongue.  From the number of recessive individuals in your class, the value of q can be determined.  From that point, the students will determine what percentage of the class is homozygous dominant and heterozygous for the given trait.

Next, students will run three simulations:  (1) Testing the Hardy-Weinberg Principle, (2) Testing the Hardy-Weinberg for Selection Pressure, and (3) The Heterozygote Advantage.

Students will begin the simulation as heterozygous individuals and will use allele cards to generate offspring. Students proceed through several generations of "mating" and the data is used to test the different conditions of the Hardy-Weinberg Principle.

During each simulation, students will determine the frequency of the dominant and recessive allele and note how the frequency of p and q change in various scenarios. The lab concludes with follow up questions and 8 additional practice problems involving the Hardy-Weinberg equation.  

The end result?  My students have mastered the concept and are able to work problems involving the Hardy-Weinberg equation.

Good luck, and have fun teaching!