The Get Real! Science Blog

What makes an idea, a BIG idea?

Image: Ted Ed
What makes an idea, a BIG idea? As educators we are surrounded by ideas. It is our responsibility to carefully select and combine ideas which serve as the foundations for meaningful learning experiences for our students: the Big Ideas. It is essential that these ideas are situated: Meaningful learning experiences are situated in familiar culture and context, respect and employ the prior knowledge and experience of each learner, are scaffolded accordingly, and incorporate community expertise and resources while fostering participatory, citizen science action research (Avery, 2013; Ballard et al. 2017).

According to Wiggins & McTighe (2004), BIG ideas provide a “conceptual […]

By |February 19th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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What’s the Big Idea?

According to Understanding by Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998), a “big idea” is a “concise statement, principle, or generalization that promotes in-depth understanding, and emphasizes the common characteristics of a unifying concept”. I like to think of it as the idea that lies at the core of a subject and guides my thinking about it.

For my innovative unit, I will be kicking off the first few weeks of ecology. I believe that the big idea for this unit is “Living things in an environment are all connected and depend on each other to create a balanced system”. Ecology is the study […]

By |February 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Going Big

Let me give you two grand statements about the way in which complex biological organisms operate:

Complex biological organisms, like humans, maintain internal balance by relying on the interworking of complex systems of organs.

The health of any system requires that all it’s parts are able to adapt to each others’ needs. When that doesn’t happen, the system cannot be healthy.

Both of these statements successfully capture what they set out to describe. Which one is better? You might, and not without a reason, say that it is of course the first one. After all, it is the only one […]

By |February 16th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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What’s The Big Idea With “Big Ideas”?

Have you ever been so interested in something that you can’t help but research it further?

Think about it. From a biochemical reaction mechanism to why the Hindenburg caught fire, interesting and engaging phenomena occur all around us. These phenomena are not isolated occurrences, despite the specific contexts in which they occur. The same basic principles govern the world around us in predictable, observable, and explainable ways; these phenomena are simply the vessel for engaging us and making us wonder how and why they happen.

Those basic principles, the overarching themes within our disciplines of interest, operate to categorize and explain […]

By |February 15th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Without The Little Ideas, There Are No Big Ideas

What’s so important about a “big idea” anyways?
What comes to mind when you think of a big idea? Really think about it. Do you think you would be able to come up with a big idea if it weren’t for your background knowledge? The little ideas you have? Or anything that has sparked your interest?
 
Today I am going to blog about what a big idea means in the classroom, and how educators implement a big idea within the content we are teaching. According to Concept-Based Teaching and Learning, incorporating the big ideas into our teaching influences our students to […]

By |February 15th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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I Swear Learning About the Moon Applies To You!

To my 8th Grade Students, 
I’m sure you’re thinking, what the heck is this student teacher going to teach me for the next 8 weeks? As your student teacher I get the pleasure of teaching you about the Earth and the Moon* and their place in the universe. But how does this relate to you in the slightest bit? As you may already know, we live on the Earth and the moon is that tiny, shiny white blob in the sky that we see at night when the sun sets for the day. Sometime the Moon is big, sometimes the Moon […]

By |February 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Is it possible to dig a hole through the Earth?

Hello, Scientist!

Have you ever dug a hole in the ground- perhaps at a park, or in your backyard, or at Charlotte Beach? What did you see? What changes did you notice as you dug deeper and deeper into the ground? Did you begin to wonder how far you could dig? When I was a young scientists I remember digging a hole in the sand at the beach. My brothers and I dug for hours! I remember our grandmother asking us if we were trying to dig a hole all the way to China! We looked at each other surprised, […]

By |February 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Middle Schoolers and NGSS: Extending Thinking Beyond the Standards

Is it dangerous to eat an orange on a hot air balloon?

What a strange question. I mean, why would I even ask that? Let me contextualize it a bit more. Please watch the following video before you continue reading.

Now that you’ve watched the video, I’ll ask my question again: Is it dangerous to eat an orange on a hot air balloon? Think for a bit about it before you continue reading. A few probing questions to get you started:

 Are party balloons and hot air balloons made of the same material?
What about the liquid in an orange peel makes […]

By |February 2nd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Like a Bat

What would it be like to see the world like a bat?

Bats are truly fascinating animals, and not only because they are the only mammals who have wings. Bats also have a very unique way of perceiving (seeing) their environment. Even though bats have perfectly good eyes that they use to navigate their surroundings during the daytime (nope, bats are not blind), they don’t actually rely on them when they are hunting for food. You see, bats are nocturnal, meaning that they spend most of their waking hours during the night, when their eyes can’t actually be of much […]

By |February 2nd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Corgis: The Genetics Behind a Loaf on Legs

Corgis. They’re short. They’re compact. And they have the most beloved butts on the internet. It’s hard to imagine how the lovable little dwarf pooches could have the same common ancestor as the wolves that terrorize fairy tales.

It’s been common knowledge for thousands of years among humans that you can breed species of animals and plants in a way that selects for specific traits. It’s how corn transformed from a gross, starchy cobb to the sweet, golden vegetable it is today. It’s how wild mustard evolved into broccoli.

It’s easy to see that traits are inherited. It’s pretty common for […]

By |February 2nd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Implementing Innovation by Orlando

This week, my students and I completed a unit on newton’s laws, momentum and car safety. The ultimate goal of the units was to have students design and build

at least 3 safety features for a passenger (an egg) in a model car (lab cart), test it (hopefully surviving the crash), and then use their understanding of physics to explain how each feature intended to increase safety and reduce harm, and perform calculations that provide further evidence of their claims.

 

The unit began with a simple question:

“What do you think would be most harmful to a person’s body, a rear end […]

By |January 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Implementing Innovation

This week, my students and I completed a unit on newton’s laws, momentum and car safety. The ultimate goal of the units was to have students design and build

at least 3 safety features for a passenger (an egg) in a model car (lab cart), test it (hopefully surviving the crash), and then use their understanding of physics to explain how each feature intended to increase safety and reduce harm, and perform calculations that provide further evidence of their claims.

 

The unit began with a simple question:

“What do you think would be most harmful to a person’s body, a rear end […]

By |January 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Read More