The Get Real! Science Blog

Support Over Thoughts and Prayers

These past few weeks have been hard for any student, teacher, parent, administrator, or anyone you could think that works for or is in a school. As I sit here, trying my hardest to think about something positive to blog about, my heart has been set on this topic for a few days now. My heart is full of sadness and grief for those who have lost 17 friends, classmates, students and teachers on February 14th, 2018. In case you are not aware of what is going on, this past Valentines Day yet another school shooting has happened, this […]

By |March 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Science and Literacy: An Interdisciplinary Teaching Approach

In last weeks blog I referenced Dr. Tony Wagner’s Seven Survival Skills. Dr. Wagner proposes the following seven skills as essential for: improving our teaching and learning strategies in education, and preparing students to lead lives as “civically engaged individuals” (Danielle Allen, What Is Education For?).

Critical thinking and problem solving
Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
Agility and Adaptability
Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
Effective oral and written communication
Accessing and Analyzing Information
Curiosity and Imagination

I left us with the question: How do we account for Wagner’s Seven Survival Skills when selecting Big Ideas? This week, the Get Real! Science cohort is working on Stage 3 of […]

By |March 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Giving My Students the Power, As Inspired by Dead Poet’s Society (1989)

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived” (Henry David Thoreau, as quoted by Neil Perry).
What does it mean to have lived? How do we measure the successes of our own lives? Who do we let define what it means for us to ‘live deliberately,’ in the words of Thoreau?

I ask these questions after watching Dead Poet’s Society (1989), a film […]

By |March 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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#NeverAgain, #WhatIf


Last week, I wrote about the February 14th Parkland shooting and what the Parkland students were doing to fight for their rights to feel safe in schools. Since so much has happened in the past week since then, I thought I’d post some updates rather than edit my original post because I think staying up to date on this situation is more important.

Between February 14th and last Friday, the Parkland survivors had

1. Held numerous rallies for strict gun control

2. Held a CNN town hall

3. Changed the minds of certain lawmakers

4. Organized 2 protests

5. Inspired some long-time gun owners to […]

By |March 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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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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