Steve Spangler has such an extraordinary educator’s blog. He makes science so much fun. The blogs show everyday occurrences that are explained through scientific investigations, whether it be about dancing spaghetti, approaching comets, or exploding alka selzers. Instead of a dry dull lecture on how science works, he is able to convey his excitement of what it takes to make things happen. Although he is not an actual teacher he can instruct while engaging the audience. This is one of the most important aspects of what we call the 5E system in science: Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Evaluation, and Extension. In labs, you must be able to get the students engaged and the way that Steve makes it fun, the students will want to be involved! For instance, Steve demonstrates the way that Mentos reacts with Coke, on the Ellen show:
The next educator blog, The Scientific Shamrock, comes from a teacher known as Mrs. Haygood. Although there is not much in the way of texts, she brings many wonderful exhibits of physics and engineering at work. Going back to the 5 E model, not only can her videotaped classes engage the blogger, they can even provide models for how experiments can go, in other words, explore and explain. I could definitely see the opportunities that would come about with this blog because the demonstrators are only students just like the ones that I have in my classroom. Haywood really understands the importance of getting right to the main picture, which in this case, are many. The great thing about all of her videos is that they tend to be student-centered, which is the way that inquiry-based learning is gravitating (with this being a scientific blog, that was a pun!)
In the third educator blog, Adventures in Science, Mrs. DuBose explains about the rock cycles with quite a few elaborate diagrams to explain how the Earth works, including this one in which she displays a rock cycle animation. I’m sure that she makes this blog available as a reinforcement of what was taught in class. This blog goes further than a typical text that the students could read in the textbook. Instead, it shows computer graphics that help accentuate many of the top concepts that Earth Science students should know, including the rock cycle. In addition, there are multiple diagrams and lesson plans to make a science teacher full of joy! I also teach Earth Science so this idea of expanding on what was learned during her lectures could definitely give students the ability to add on and extend, as in the 5 E model.
All three of these blogs could be integrated as a series of ways to establish the 5 E model, except possibly the Evaluation. I expect that I could allow students to view these blogs during a class and then have them work on their own contributions towards a collective class blog. In addition, it would be great to introduce the concept of how students could effectively solve problems through the new Common Core standards that are now being pushed. The inquiry-based learning is something that our department meetings have been engrossed with. If I introduce not just the concept of blogging, but key strategies on how to involve the students more I’m sure teachers might go with it because they may find that each of these blogs are different enough to give each science teacher an idea to promote. Although there are no Creative Commons emblems on these blogs, they are available to the public. Just as Linda Starr mentions, “The guidelines specifically exempt K-6 students from adhering strictly to those [copyright] portion limits” (Applying, p.4). These were fun, yet informative sites.
Starr, Linda. “Applying Fair Use to New Technologies?” EducationWorld. Education World. 25 Jun. 2010. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from. http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr280b.shtml