Day 63 – Story Writing

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Science 8 – Students continued to work on their short stories and presentations.  It’s amazing just how much use I can get out of my classroom notebooks.  They are a fantastic tool to have on hand, it’s a shame they are not found in more classrooms.  It’s also too bad that so many students have a $600 smartphone instead of a $500 notebook computer.

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Day 59 – Stories in Science

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Science 8 – Continuing from Contagion, I thought I’d try something different in science class.  The idea is that encyclopedias are boring and that humans naturally communicate through stories.  RadioLab is a perfect example of this.  Together in class we listened to a story about penicillin and antibiotics. It was interesting, captivating, easily understood and memorable.

So why re-hash an encyclopedia when it would be better to gather information and then disseminate it through story?  Kids were given two options.  Turn their research into a short story, or make a presentation.  The presentation should also be a story of some kind.

There’s lots to write about this, but it deserves its own post. To make a long story short, I’m trying to collaborate with colleagues in the English department to work together on a science and story project.  Perhaps through some Pro D we will be able to pull this off next year.

Day 57 – Disease Spread

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Science 8Post movie activity #1: simulate the spread of disease.  Each student had a test tube with water in it, while one student had a test tube with 0.1M NaOH.  Students shared their liquid with each other by going through 5 rounds of exchanging one drop each with a dropper.  After 5 rounds of sharing, students lined up and I put a drop of phenolphalien in their test tube. If their liquid turned pink/magenta, it meant that they were infected.

I then challenged students to come up with a way to find who was patient zero.  A few kids managed to put some ideas together and come up with a system… and it worked!

Post movie activity #2 – Was Contagion realistic?

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At first the students thought that the movie was a bit realistic. I then had them do a comparison between the disease they researched and the disease in Contagion.  The class then voted again and this time more people thought the movie was realistic.

Day 55 – Contagion

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Science 8 – Students have finished their infectious disease projects and the results were kind of mixed. In many ways, lots of students did a good job. However, the reports were essentially a rephrasing of encyclopedia entries.  I ran the reports through TurnItIn, and there was very little copying, so that was nice.  But the reports were pretty sterile and didn’t convince me that the students neccessarily knew the things they were reporting on.  To offer a different view in talking about disease, we are going to watch the movie Contagion.  It is very realistic (or so I’ve read) and covers many of the topics we are covering in class. It will be interesting to see what the students think.

Rather than have students fill out some type of worksheet for the movie, I will have two closing activities which I will blog about afterwords.