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Science lesson planning help!
Old 10-26-2017, 04:50 PM
 
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Hi! I'm a new high school science teacher. I teach 10th grade general physical science. I need help with lesson plans. I am an education major, and did an internship, but honestly, I learned nothing from it. I interned in a rural district with next to no technology (one of my teachers had the old-timey overhead projectors). Those teachers did the bare minimum but we're considered "good" teachers. One of the teachers didn't even do lesson plans. Also, I my education program was a huge let-down. I feel like I learned nothing from it. I went to a small, local university and took most of my education classes with one teacher who didn't seem like she enjoyed her time in the classroom (yet she is teaching future teachers. go figure.)

So, I am seeking advice on what type of activities work for other teachers (not just science) that are engaging. I've been giving a lot of worksheets and textbook assignments, because that's all I saw during my internship and a lot of my observations. My students are not well-behaved. I know my classroom management is lacking. I feel so under prepared for this job. It is very overwhelming. Does anyone use bellringers? And if so, what do you do? I want to be consistent but everything I've been doing seems scattered to me.

Also, I would like advice on how to pace my content. I don't know how long I should spend on a topic before I test on it. If anyone could, I'd like to know how you go about planning a unit. Do you break it down into a topic a day? I really need help and would appreciate any advice. I feel like I'm drowning, and I desire to be a good teacher, but I'm struggling.

Thanks for any advice!


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Old 10-27-2017, 03:50 AM
 
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I am a science teacher at high school level as well.

My students love anything where they get to actually do something. However, I'm not *actually* certified in science education, I'm certified in math education (private school). So I'm just starting to get confident doing hands-on experiments that require real lab equipment. Here are some of the things I have done when I was just starting out:

1. Bouncy ball Lab --- we measured the height of a bouncy ball's bounce
2. Bacteria growth --- we used petri dishes and agar and swabbed different substances in the school to see how dirty they were.
3. Build a boat that can hold pennies
4. Easy scientific method labs - bubble gum stretching/
5. Build a Newton's cradle using Popsicle sticks and marbles
6. Dissolve egg shells from eggs to make a naked egg. Then observe the diffusion of different solutions into and out of the egg.
7. pH lab
8. Rewrite a popular song so that it is about Newton's three laws
9. Articles from Teachers pay teachers that students read and answer questions on
10. Bill Nye & Magic School Bus...Seriously. They love it.
11. Make a solar oven and cook smores
12. Try to calculate the friction of your own tennis shoe
13. Have the students make posters/PowerPoints on topics
14. Anything at all where they can eat the project afterward (because then you don't have to be worried about chemicals)
15. LOTS of Youtube cheesy songs on the topic

I usually teach on a topic for about 2-3 weeks before testing. It does depend on the topic, because some are more complex than others.

I'm more than willing to share any of the resources I have. Some of them I made myself, some of them are from the free section on Teachers Pay Teachers. Let me know if you'd like anything.

Last edited by NerdTeach; 10-27-2017 at 05:20 AM..
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Old 10-27-2017, 07:54 AM
 
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I taught high school science for 40 years.

I used a quick quiz as a bellringer. Students would pick up a small sheet of paper, put their name on it, and answer the questions on the board (1-5 questions, depending on complexity). The work was open notes and open homework (but not open book), silent and independent. The kids then graded their own papers. I found it to be a great way to review the previous day and check who had done homework. I collected the quizes and made note of the scores, but did not include it in their grade. It allowed me to find out what they understood, correct misconceptions, and figure out who was taking homework seriously. If parents, kids, or counselors wondered why a child was failing, the quiz scores often provided evidence of lack of effort.

Lab activities are important. Students can do lots of simple activities related to content. The internet is full of good ideas, so don’t feel limited to your textbook. I tried to do 1-3 lab activities per week. If you feel stuck on a particular topic, you can PM me and I will be glad to offer ideas. Many physics labs can be done with everyday objects, and many chemistry topics can be done with household chemicals. If you have balances, beakers, thermometers, and graduated cylinders, you can do lots.

I usually took about 2 weeks to complete a chapter, including mini-lectures, practice problems, labs, demonstrations, perhaps a relevant video, review and test.

If you would like to plan out a short unit together, we could do that to help you with pacing. Name the topic!
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