Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Workshop 8

Charting the Next Move

About the Workshop

Throughout this workshop series, you have had an opportunity to consider a variety of "next move" strategies for teaching mathematics and science. All of a teacher's next moves are chosen in a milieu that includes not only the specific classroom circumstances, but also forces outside of the classroom walls. These external pressures include other classrooms, the administration, the school district, and the state, as well as parents, families, and communities.

Each teacher participating in this series is at a different place with regard to making next moves, and each is confronted by different challenges. However, all share a common goal of making moves that progress toward a more student-centered mathematics and science classroom. This final workshop gives teachers an opportunity to reflect on the series as a whole, and to consider how to negotiate external forces in order to begin taking steps toward change.

The Great Bean Bag Adventure

So far, we have investigated only lima beans. In our sixth and final experiment, we compared lima bean growth to that of other types of seeds.

What we used:

6 plastic baggies water
12 paper towels
3 sunflower seeds
3 lima beans
3 pumpkin seeds
3 navy beans
3 corn seeds
3 kidney beans

What we did:
Folded and placed two paper towels in each baggie. Added water to each baggie to moisten the towels. Labeled and prepared the baggies as follows:

  1. Lima beans (control)
  2. Navy beans
  3. Kidney beans
  4. Corn seeds
  5. Pumpkin seeds
  6. Sunflower seeds
  1. 3 Lima beans (control)
  2. 3 Navy beans
  3. 3 Kidney beans
  4. 3 Corn seeds
  5. 3 Pumpkin seeds
  6. 3 Sunflower seeds

Getting Ready (15 min. each)

  1. With a partner, share your next move. Exchange ideas about how you might accomplish this move successfully. Where does your move fit in to the topics covered in this workshop series? What are the implications of your move? What might be a logical next move to make after you achieve the first one?
  2. Forces external to your classroom are likely to have considerable impact on your ability to achieve your next move, and it is likely that others at your site are affected by similar pressures. As a group, generate a list of external forces that influence what you do in the classroom. Which have the greatest affect on your ability to progress toward student-centered math and science teaching and learning? Rank the items on your list. What is the number one challenge? What are some ways you might address this challenge?

Site Conversation 1 (5 min.)

"New and improved" school, district, state, and national standards are now being introduced all over the country. How do these particular external forces influence your ability to take steps toward change in math and science education? What can you do to deal with these forces?

Site Conversation 2 (5 min.)

Educators are constantly grappling with the issue of depth versus breadth. Few would disagree that less is more, and that it is better to teach deep understanding of one concept than superficial understanding of several. But how deep is deep? How do you decide that the students have "got it" and that it's time to move on?

Going Further (15 min. each)

  1. 1. In the first workshop, you took some time to reflect on your own metaphor for teaching. Since then, you have had an opportunity to consider a variety of other teaching metaphors—those that you found when you interviewed your colleagues, and those that were featured in this workshop series.

Has your metaphor for teaching changed since the first workshop? Are you now considering alternative metaphors? Which of the metaphors that were featured in this series will be useful to you as you make your next move? Do you find that some metaphors are more applicable to certain classroom situations than others? Share your thoughts with your colleagues.

  1. Your Site Leader recently received an evaluation form in the mail, and should now distribute copies of this form to all participants. Please take these final 15 minutes to fill out the evaluation form. Your feedback is very important to us—it will be used to guide the production of future workshop series.

Attention Site Leader: Please collect the completed forms from all participants, and mail them to us in the pre-addressed envelope provided.


Hands-on Ice Cream

Suggested Grade Level: K-5

Students make ice cream in plastic bags.

What you need

(for each student)

1 small (sandwich size) zip-close plastic bag
1 large zip-close plastic bag
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup milk or half & half
1/2 tsp. vanilla, 2 tsp. chocolate syrup, or fruit
Several ice cubes
8 Tbs. salt
Newspaper or paper towel
Thermometer (optional)
Scale (optional)

The materials for this activity are expensive. To reduce the cost, consider asking students to bring in ingredients from home, suggesting that the PTA supply the ingredients as a special class treat, or having students make the ice cream in pairs or small groups.

What to do

  1. Add the sugar, milk and flavoring together in the sandwich size plastic bag.
  2. Squeeze all the air out, seal the plastic bag, and then squish everything around to mix it up. (It is important to seal the bag tightly, or double-bag the mixture).
  3. Fill the large bag half full with ice and add 8 Tbs. of salt.
  4. Put the small sealed plastic bag in the large bag, squeeze all the air out, and then seal the large bag.
  5. Wrap the plastic bags in newspaper or a towel and start shaking, rolling, and or squishing it until the mixture inside makes a thick mixture.

What next

Have students explore the change of state of the different ingredients: ice (a solid) turns to water (a liquid), and milk (a liquid) turns to ice cream (a solid). Students can also explore the change in temperature of the different ingredients and investigate whether or not the weight of the ingredients changes as their state and temperature change.

Another challenging activity is for students to design ice cream shakers or squishers. For example, instead of using a plastic bag, students might use a coffee can to roll the ice and ice cream mixture along the floor. Students can test the effectiveness of their designs by timing how long it takes the milk mixture to turn into ice cream.

One connection to the Standards

Physical Science, Content Standard B

As a result of the activities in grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding of

  • Properties of objects and materials
  • Position and motion of objects
  • Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism

"Students are familiar with the change of state between water and ice, but the idea of liquids having a set of properties is more nebulous and requires more instructional effort than working with solids."

National Research Council, (NCR). 1996. National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. (pg. 123)


Series Overview
Workshop Synopses
About the Contributors
Workshop Components
More Workshop Components
Helpful Hints for Successful Site Investigations
The Great Bean Bag Adventure
Invitation to Interact
Featured Teachers:
–  Classroom Clips
–  Conversations
Workshop 1
Workshop 2
Workshop 3
Workshop 4
Workshop 5
Workshop 6
Workshop 7
Workshop 8
Suggested Teaching Resources


Workshop Materials Home | Next Move Home


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