Genius Hour in Middle School

What is Genius Hour? Genius Hour is sometimes called Passion Projects and is an opportunity for student directed learning based on inquiry. Students can explore their own unique interests in a loosely structured classroom environment. They choose what they want to study and how they want to study it. They also choose what kind ofContinue reading “Genius Hour in Middle School”

Where are the teachers going?

I just signed my contract for next year. But a bunch of teachers did not. What’s happening? Some staff turnover is normal, of course. Education Week says that a “normal” number of teachers leaving the profession is about 8% per year. This year is different. This year, the number is at least double and even triple inContinue reading “Where are the teachers going?”

The Science of Summer Sports

“But when will we have to know this?” Every middle school teacher has heard this lament. It’s hard to make Newton’s Laws or simple machines exciting, and it’s hard for a 7th or 8th grade student to engage with heavy dry material. But when you can make the science engaging or relevant, kids will digContinue reading “The Science of Summer Sports”

Citizen Science with Middle Schoolers

Science isn’t just a subject in school. It’s a body of knowledge studied by people all over the world. Your middle schoolers can participate in real science collaboration by collecting data and contributing to citizen science. Participating in citizen science with middle schoolers gives them a sense of how big the scientific community is andContinue reading “Citizen Science with Middle Schoolers”

Virtual Visit to the Statue of Liberty

What is an Interactive Virtual Field Trip There are times when talking about something just isn’t good enough. Great examples are glaciers, deserts and canyons. There are still plenty of places I want my middle school science students to “visit” that just aren’t possible. An interactive virtual field trip allows students to learn about aContinue reading “Virtual Visit to the Statue of Liberty”

How the Earth Day Escape Room works

The Earth Day Escape Room helps students learn about the history of Earth Day and how they can help solve some of the environmental problems facing the Earth. Every year, Earthday.org chooses a new theme for Earth Day. The theme for 2022 is “Invest in Our Planet.” The Earth Day Escape room this year isContinue reading “How the Earth Day Escape Room works”

Think, Pair, Share with Middle School Science

What is Think-Pair-Share Think-Pair-Share is a simple three step process. Given a question (“How many times should we repeat this experiment to confirm our data?” “Which planet would you most want to travel to and why?”), students stop for a minute and compose their answer. Then, they find (or are assigned) a partner, and shareContinue reading “Think, Pair, Share with Middle School Science”

Death Valley National Park Virtual Field Trip

What is an Interactive Virtual Field Trip There are times when talking about something just isn’t good enough. Great examples are glaciers, deserts and canyons. There are still plenty of places I want my middle school science students to “visit” that just aren’t possible. An interactive virtual field trip allows students to learn about aContinue reading “Death Valley National Park Virtual Field Trip”

Why Bellringers?

What is a bellringer? A bellringer is an activity or small assignment that students complete when they first enter a classroom. They can be writing assignments, quick formative assessments, or partnered activities. Why should middle school teachers use bellringers? Bellringers gives students an opportunity to transition from one task (or class) to another and mentallyContinue reading “Why Bellringers?”