Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Life Science: About the Course

Teacher-Talk Life

[Channel-talklife] What is life?

From: cporte4@bellsouth.net
Date: Fri Mar 12 2004 - 05:24:14 EST

I have thoroughly enjoyed watching these programs so far. I teach both life and earth science at the junior high level, grade 7 and 8. I found the interviews and discussions with the young children fascinating. I used the questions on the website as prompts for journal writing to launch life science concepts. My students enjoyed expressing their views to these thought-provoking questions. Through discussion of the journal entries, I am able to assess their prior knowledge. This informs my teaching.

It is also very interesting to hear the ideas of young students and to see how they think about science concepts. I particularly liked the discussions in session 2, for example, "Plants have wisdom," and "They don't move unless you move them."

In session 1 the discussion of dead vs. alive was informative. My special education integrated science class just finished a unit on matter and atoms. As an introduction to cell theory, I asked them to look at pictures and read and think about viruses. How is it that these strange and fascinating things are alive? That leads us to the question, "What is life?" The extremophiles and viruses challenge our own concepts about life. What an interesting and fascinating area of science!

Concerning the topic "reproduction," so many children have pets, and must have formed some concepts about how animals and plants reproduce. The question is: what is the framework of these concepts, and how scientifically accurate are they? How do these concepts affect their understanding of life processes in general, since reproduction is so basic to understanding life? (Why is a virus alive?)

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