May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

High-Quality Science Resources from Public Media: America’s Largest Classroom

Posted: Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

by Andrea Aust

If you use multimedia resources in your classroom you already know how they can help engage students in science, strengthen the impact of hands-on activities, and serve as valuable learning tools that can explain and demonstrate difficult concepts.  Incorporating different forms of media into lessons reinforces both science and media literacy skills in students. But with the multitude of science media resources available on the Web, where can you find trusted content?  Where can you be sure the science is actual, fact-checked science?

Let public media come to the rescue! Public media stations—both PBS and NPR affiliates–have missions to create content that educates and informs.  They have strong editorial integrity, where accuracy is paramount.  Here are seven resources for grades 6-12 that you should know about.  Some on the list may be old favorites.  Others may become your new go-to sites for exploring science in California or for introducing your students to STEM careers.  In no particular order, here are some top science programs made available thanks to viewers and listeners like you.

QUEST

From Newton’s Laws of Motion to giant redwoods, QUEST offers hundreds of media resources that cover science and sustainability.  Short, digestible video and audio segments lend themselves to easy classroom integration. Originally a KQED property, the majority of the stories are from the San Francisco Bay Area and California. Now, a collaboration of six public media stations, QUEST highlights science stories across the country. These resources are excellent for showing students real-world application of the science concepts they are learning about in class.

It’s Okay to Be Smart

Want to know about the science of kissing, what wind is or why time exists? Joe Hanson explores these topics and more with his entertaining series for PBS Digital Studios. Infused with humor and some “wow” facts, these are not your run-of the-mill science videos. Hanson demonstrates that science is for everyone; that it intersects with art, history and the world in which we live. Use this series to inspire students’ curiosity about everyday occurrences and scientific phenomena.

NOVA, etc.

This nearly 40-year-old series needs no introduction.  But, did you know that besides being able to access content from NOVA and NOVA Science Now online, there are actually five additional NOVA-branded sites? One to note is NOVA Labs, where citizen scientists of all ages can participate in the scientific process. Research challenges include investigating the solar cycle and renewable energy systems.  NOVA Education provides another portal to search NOVA media and includes and education blog.  NOVA Next contains articles about big news in science and technology, embedded with media, written by renowned scientists and science journalists. The Nature of Reality is a blog that covers the “physics of nothing, everything and all the things in between.”

The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

Hear from an impressive list of scientists and engineers as they describe what they do in 30 seconds, share what excites them about their work and divulge their secret talents.  This video series (part of the suite of NOVA goodies above) is a delightful peek into scientists’ lives and lets their personalities shine.

Science Friday

You may already be a fan of Science Friday’s radio program with host Ira Flatow, but if you haven’t visited the website, you’re missing out. Short videos reveal everything from the fluid mechanics of sneezes to cuttlefish camouflage. In addition, NGSS-aligned lesson plans combine background media pieces with fun hands-on science experiments and activities.

iBooks Textbooks from KQED

Not technically a program, but still a great resource, KQED’s collection of free e-books brings science to life at the touch of a fingertip. The books explore topics including energy, biotechnology. and earthquakes through a blend of high-quality media, interactive elements. and informative text. Throughout the books, career spotlight videos highlight scientists and engineers working in a variety of STEM-related jobs.

And lastly, to take full advantage of what public media has to offer, make sure to search, save and share your way through PBS LearningMedia. This catchall digital learning library contains thousands of resources—many of them science.  A free subscription allows you to access videos, audio segments, interactives, lesson plans, and articles from PBS stations and partners from around the country.

With this amazing wealth of free, quality, and trusted public media resources available to you, there are now literally thousands of ways to add excitement to your curriculum this year. Overwhelmed by the choices? Pick one and dive in, you can’t go wrong!

Andrea Aust is the Science Education Manager at KQED, a public media station in San Francisco, and is a member of CSTA.

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

2 Responses

  1. Thank you, Andrea. I’m a veteran science teacher but hadn’t heard of some of those sites and also didn’t realize NOVA had expanded to include so many other useful links!

  2. I’m glad you found these resources useful, Dawn! Enjoy exploring the sites!

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LATEST POST

CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.