“Understanding Science,” this month’s featured Resource, was developed by the University of California Museum of Paleontology. The freely accessible website (http://undsci.berkeley.edu/) offers resources for K-16 teachers, their students, and science lovers in general. Understanding Science 101, a Resource Library, and Teaching Resources are major components of the website.
The home page displays the three website sections in the heading and in the columns below.
Understanding Science 101 is called a “primer on the nature and process of science.” Click the first link beneath for an overview and text description containing links to central scientific terms and themes: testing, evidence, natural world, and observations. Other links ask and answer: What is science? How does it work? and Why is it important? (sounds familiar …).
The second topic/column on the home page, “For teachers,” has links to grade-level materials clearly labeled K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, and 13-16. Click on “Main page” for an introduction to the site’s approach to science teaching: Make it explicit, Help students reflect, and Give it context.
The resources are geared to help teachers increase their students’ science comprehension, and to improve their own knowledge through Understanding Science 101, the Resource Library, or visiting a grade-level Teachers’ Lounge. Here you’ll find ideas for targeting your students’ abilities, starting the year with activities that stimulate students’ exploration and observation, identifying learning goals, even searching the site’s database of well-vetted resources using keywords, specific disciplines, and topics, the website also includes a “sample of a modified lesson,” with suggestions for modifying lessons to clarify terms, encouraging class discussion, and applying the Science Flowchart – found in the Resource Library column on the home page, and at the upper-right corner of every page! An attractive but initially uninspiring graphic, the flowchart comes alive when your mouse pointer moves over it. More for teachers than for students, the flowchart may suggest approaches “outside the box” of your usual instructional thought patterns and ideas to The flowchart comes alive when your mouse pointer moves over it. More for teachers than for students, the flowchart may suggest approaches “outside the box” of your usual instructional thought patterns and ideas.
Understanding Science was produced by a leading academic institution and vetted by a large group of science professionals. A site for teachers rather than students, its curriculum ideas, resources, and teaching tools carefully focus on designated age groups. Perhaps most valuable, the Teachers’ Lounges provide insights into the process of teaching itself. Although the topic is “understanding science,” the materials spend equal time on how to present science in ways that will engage students throughout the curriculum. In the end, isn’t that what teaching is all about?
About the Creators:
Understanding Science was produced by the Museum of Paleontology at UC Berkeley, in collaboration with a broad variety of scientists and teachers on its advisory boards. A grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the website. In December 2010, Understanding Science was awarded the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE), which encourages innovation, excellence, and the use of high-quality online resources in education.