Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kids Give Tips on Writing Quality Comments on a Blog

Here are some quality tips on how to write quality comments on a blog that you just read.  I learned a lot.  Maybe this will be useful for you and your students.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Finding the Speed of Light with Peeps - Science Experiment

Yes, I know that this is different than the typical discussion on Dr. Z Reflects, but I just had to share this wonderful science experiment.  

This 5-minute video shares a wonderful demonstration of applied mathematics and science. Using a tray full of peeps, you can actually demonstrate how wavelengths move across a microwave. 

The experimenter (couldn't find his name in the credits) places a tray of marshmallow peeps into a microwave and turns it on for a couple of minutes. He pulls it out and then looks for the specific places where the peeps have really melted. These places are about 2.4 inches apart.  Based upon the assumption that the microwaves are melting the peeps in places where the wave actually travels through the peeps, it is possible to use these calculations to compute the speed of light.

I can see 10 year old students doing this and suddenly having a realization light going off in their heads by this demonstration.   This is a MUST WATCH video and MUST IMPLEMENT in your classroom.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Another Rube Goldberg STEM Session at UNI Elementary Literacy Conference

What do Rube Goldberg, STEM and Literacy have in common?  

That's a good question. I have been invited to share our Rube Goldberg experiences as a Featured Speaker at the UNI Elementary Literacy Conference.

Interestingly enough, I will be sharing the stage with Dr. Beth Van Meeteren (STEM in PreK-3rd Grades: A Reason to Develop Literacy); Marcy Seavey (Finding the Citizen Scientist in Every Child); and Rick Vanderwall (Media and Drama Integration with Literacy)   It will be an exciting opportunity for all.

Today I will be sharing our Rube Goldberg experiences in the 6th Grade Waverly-Shell Rock Middle School.  We will discuss the explorational process that we experienced while creating our own inventions to accomplish simple tasks.  These tasks might be turning off a light, erasing a blackboard, or popping a balloon. These may seem like meaningless tasks, but its not about turning out a light.  The emphasis of this process is the creative problem solving that our students experienced while they were building these inventions.

If you want to learn more about my presentation, you can refer to my other posts in DrZReflects.  The Slide Show is available in the list below as well as some of the other resources that I used in preparation.
Project-Based Learning 
Do you have more resources you want to share?  Please add them to the comments below.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Use These 4 Videos When Developing Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning is not an easy way to teach but it is much more rewarding for the learners and the teachers.  Here are some must-watch videos about Developing Project-Based Learning.  I have tried to share them in a progressive sequence that you can use to move through the process of learning about and through PBL.

Project-Based Learning: Explained

Looking for an easy introduction to PBL?  This Common Craft video developed for the Buck Institute for Education does a good job of describing PBL and how it fits into 21st Century Curriculum. An interesting part is that they only talk about 3 of the 4 Cs (Communication, Collaboration and Critical Thinking).  I wonder what they did with the fourth C, Creativity?


The Five Keys to Project-Based Learning

Well-designed PBL has been shown to result in deeper learning and more engaged, self-directed learners. This video provides a suggestion for five core elements of successful PBL.  Here are more resources at Edutopia where you can learn more about PBL.

Meeting the Challenges of Project-Based Learning

Introducing PBL into your class isn't an easy process. This video shares the difficulties and triumphs of Sammamish High School (Washington) teachers as they move from traditional teaching to schoolwide problem-based learning.

Assessment in Project-Based Learning

This 30-minute webinar explores how PBL might be assessed with the BIE Editor-in-Chief, John Larmer, and a team of educators.

Project-Based Learning is the epitome of 21st Century Learning. 

How are you using it?  What additional resources do you need to make it a reality in your teaching?


Thursday, April 09, 2015

Teaching STEM Elements Using Rube Goldberg Inventions

Rube Goldberg Title Page
How do we teach STEM using exciting and crazy devices like Rube Goldberg Inventions? 

Today I have the opportunity to share my ideas and experiences with doing just that. I will begin by introducing the facets of STEM education along with 8 essential elements for Problem-Based Learning which is the basis of effective STEM education.

Here are some of the materials I used and the resources I have consulted for this presentation.   Some of the materials I will be covering are also covered in previous Dr. Z Reflects postings so you will find some links at the bottom of this post.

Rube Goldberg-Related Resources:

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Dr. Z's Presentations

Photo of a filled Calendar
Looking for an opportunity to get together?

I would love to have a chance to talk with you face-to-face and share your successes.  Sometimes it seems like this blog is too much one way.

Over the next few months, I will be speaking throughout Iowa and even visiting Philadelphia for the ISTE conference.   I decided to create a page on this blog where you can see my engagements (and more importantly, where I can see my own engagements.)  =-)

You can access this page by clicking on this phrase or by clicking the tab below our Dr. Z Reflects Blog heading.