Juniata Valley School District

Juniata Valley School District
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All resources in Juniata Valley School District

Asking Questions, All the Time

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The ability to ask and answer questions while reading is essential to comprehension. This article discusses instructional strategies used to teach questioning and provides many online resources. The article appears in the free, online magazine Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle, which explores the seven essential principles of the climate sciences for teachers in k-grade 5 classrooms.

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Authors: Jessica Fries-Gaither, National Science Foundation

Classroom Protocols in Action: Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face

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This video shows primary students using the Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face protocol as a simple and fun way for all students to get a chance to move, think, talk, and learn from others. The teacher first has students model: stand back-to-back with a partner, listen to the question and think, turn face-to-face, taking turns speaking and listening, then turning back-to-back. The class next practices with an easy question from personal experience, then with one that is text-based. This video is narrated by students, and can be shown to students to help them learn this simple routine for productive conversations.

Material Type: Teaching/Learning Strategy

Classroom Protocols in Action: Using an Interactive Word Wall

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This video shows primary students using an Interactive Word Wall, a protocol, with words related to the unit of study (both domain specific and academic vocabulary). Students manipulate the words as they discuss relationships among the words and ideas. There are many ways to use an Interactive Word Wall; this video shows students doing concept mapping. First, the teacher restates the guiding question "How does a spider use its body to survive?" She has students pantomime to review key ideas and vocabulary. She then reviews with students the purpose of concept mapping: to articulate how the words are related to each other. Next, students work in small groups, manipulating vocabulary cards and symbols (e.g., arrows, equals) that help convey the relationships. The teacher circulates to check for understanding, clarifying misconceptions, and push student thinking. The teacher ends the class with students reviewing other groups' concepts maps to give specific feedback on what they thought was strong.

Material Type: Teaching/Learning Strategy

Save the Stuffed Animal! Push & Pull

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Students develop an understanding of the concepts of "push" and "pull" as they "save" stuffed animals from danger using LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots. After learning more about the concepts through a robot demonstration, students explore the concepts themselves in the context of saving stuffed animala from the table edges. They choose to either push or pull the animal to safety, depending on the orientation of the robot and toy. They see the consequences of their choices, learning the importance of understanding these force concepts and the differences between them.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Monique Moore, Ursula Koniges

Erosion in Rivers

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Students learn about water erosion through an experimental process in which small-scale buildings are placed along a simulated riverbank to experience a range of flooding conditions. They learn how soil conditions are important to the stability or failure of civil engineering projects and how a river's turns and bends (curvature, sinuosity) make a difference in the likelihood of erosion. They make model buildings either with a 3D printer or with LEGO® pieces and then see how their designs and riverbank placements are impacted by slow (laminar) and fast (turbulent) water flow over the soil. Students make predictions, observations and conclusions about the stability of their model houses, and develop ideas for how to mitigate damage in civil engineering projects.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Eduardo Suescun, Sophia Mercurio

Soooooo Tall!!

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Students will build a figure out of legos. There are two groups, and each group is competing with the other. Students build their tower of legos as high as they can and then measure with a ruler or yard stick. The tower has to be free-standing so the children have to think of ways to keep the tower standing by itself.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Beverly Rose

An Artistic View of Outer Space

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This is an art lesson easily integrated by art specialists or classroom teachers into any thematic unit that involves space, the solar system, or science fiction and is adaptable for students in grades 2 through 6. It incorporates the use of art materials such as oil pastels and compasses and the design concepts of shape and balance in a composition as well as providing the students with a fun and creative way to explore areas of geometry and science. This lesson is especially useful for classroom teachers who are aware of how art, when integrated into the classroom curriculum, can help students with different learning styles explore a variety of subjects in a way that will help them maximize the learning experience.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Karen Canfield

Classroom Protocols in Action: Science Talk

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This video shows primary students using a Science Talk protocol as way to collectively theorize, build on each others' ideas, work out thoughts, build literacy, and think, wonder, and talk about how things work. First, the teacher revisits the guiding question ("How does a spider's body help it survive?") and has students review information. She then reviews the Science Talk norms and has a small group of students model. She reviews sentence frames (e.g., "I agree with... because...") that will help students speak like scientists. Students then participate in Science Talks in small groups; the teacher circulates to listen, probe, and coach. We see students building on each others' ideas in a format that promotes equitable conversation. Finally, students reflect on their learning, revisiting the guiding question and the big idea (every part of a spider has an important function that helps it survive).

Material Type: Teaching/Learning Strategy