What is your favorite physics lesson?
In sixth grade Science with District 51 we teach Basic Motion and Matter. I really like the matter content. When kids need a reminder, I often say “Empty Spaaaaaaace” and they remember the parts of the atom.
What is your favorite physics demonstration?
The microscopic versus macroscopic zoom in and out was a favorite of my students. After class, I heard from many parents that their child shared it at home.
What is your favorite physics activity?
In our building we have merged STC with our Project Based Learning, so we do a project that allows students, in concept, to build a bike with new elements or design a museum like our Dinosaur Journey Museum to teach about matter and elements.
What changes have you made to any of the STC-provided ideas for any of the above, in order to use in your classroom?
I often have to reduce the language. We have a span of readers that are in 6th grade but reading at levels 1st grade – 12th Grade. It would be nice to have some differentiation on worksheets and projects.
What suggestions/improvements would you implement next time you do a specific STC lesson/activity?
Now that I am more familiar with the process, I can differentiate and create supplemental lessons for all learners. We also have time issues. We only have about 3-4 weeks to teach the unit. We have to select the main points and not access the whole intended unit.
What is your students’ involvement/engagement like with STC-provided activities?
Students are excited to see what’s next when using STC.
What are your students’ favorite physics activities?
They loved the blueberry comic.
What connections to standards can you share with other teachers that you have made between your standards and STC lessons?
We have taught Matter using our own resources. My suggestion is find your teaching style and the resources that work the best for your group of students.
What connections to other subjects (Math/ELA) have you made to specific STC lessons that you could share with other teachers?
Science is an easy connection to reading, writing, math, music, social studies, etc. We have about 60% of students in music and if we play short songs that relate to content it really helps our students. I used to teach Shirley English in 3rd grade and they used a bunch of music to remember the parts of speech. I have always found rhythm is important.
Anything else you’d like to share? Think about what you would say to a new or returning middle school physics teacher to help them out in a specific area.
As I have said since the first day of STC I would like to see differential and funding for the supplies to use the program. Often the lessons need supplies and we skip them because we don’t have any money to by the consumables.