Episode 017: Ambitious Science Teaching with Dr. Melissa Braaten




Looking for practical and powerful tools for teaching science? A framework that ensures instruction is rigorous and equitable for students from all backgrounds? Then you must add the book, Ambitious Science Teaching, to your resource library. Co-author Dr. Melissa Braaten joins our show today and discusses modelling tools and productive talk moves to use in your K-12 science classrooms.

Join our Facebook Group and comment to win a copy of her book!


And remember, you're phenomenal!

 Show Highlights (with time stamps)

  • 05:45 - 07:25   Revisable models for scientific explanation 
  • 10:30 - 13:15   Practical tips for revising models in the classroom
  • 15:00 - 20:00   Teaching science with slides (a Kindergarten example)
  • 21:00 - 22:30   Acting out models: "Energy Theater"
  • 23:00 - 26:25   The "Gotta Have It Checklist"
  • 31:15 - 35:55   "Back Pocket Questions"
  • 39:45 - 41:15   Modeling dilemmas: Grading divergent ideas
  • 47:00 - 49:20   Values in the classroom and grading

Main Takeaways from Twitter Follower @KateCookWhitt :

  1.  Provide younger students with "supports" to help with modeling (e.g. magnetic symbols and words for kindergarten students modeling pushes and pulls on a slide
  2. Use post-it notes to "cover-up" pieces of models to show revisions (and color code!) - you can develop a flip book archive of the progressive development of understanding over time!
  3. Video record "energy theater" so students who are in it can watch it from a birdseye view
  4. Use full phrases and idea on the Gotta Have It rather than just words,
  5. Develop SEQUENCED and RESPONSIVE back pocket questions for small group work (beyond just standard talk moves),
  6. Use seating charts to quickly document student ideas. 

  Show Quotes 

"That's the powerful work of science education. It's being able to feel like you understand something in a way that you hadn't understood it before." [23:54-30:02] -Dr. Melissa Braaten

"If we can help redistribute whose ideas get to count as good ideas in the classroom, we can really do some justice work for kids who've always had great ideas, they just haven't been recognized publicly before." [38:56-39:11] Dr. Melissa Braaten

"What we've learned over and over again is that students are capable of much more than we think they are. And if we lock them in to our structures as teacher, we are going to count kids out. We are going to exclude good ideas. So we have to make structures that are flexible and allow us to recognize brilliance when it pops up." [43:45-44:09]

"As teachers, we can shift our perspective a little bit to be able to see how kids are making really big leaps and really big growth in their own sense making. We don't need to measure against the canonical idea all the time. Couldn't we just take it as  a good idea on it's own?" [47:05-47:23]  Dr. Melissa Braaten



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