Secondary Science Simplified is a podcast specifically for high school science teachers that will help you to engage your students AND simplify your life as a secondary science educator. Each week Rebecca, from It's Not Rocket Science, and her guests will share practical and easy-to-implement strategies for decreasing your workload so that you can stop working overtime and start focusing your energy doing what you love - actually teaching! Teaching doesn't have to be rocket science, and you'll learn exactly what you need to do to simplify your secondary science teaching life so that you can enjoy your life outside of school even more. Head to itsnotrocketscienceclassroom.com/challenge to grab your FREE Classroom Reset Challenge.
106. Standards-Based Grading, Citizenship Grades, Motivation and MORE With Guest Jennica Harrison
I love talking about science content, curriculum, engaging activities, and practical strategies you can implement in your own classroom. But when my audience inquires about topics I’m not so sure about, I bring in experts who can share their knowledge. That’s exactly what I did when it came to discussing standards-based grading. My guest on today’s episode, Jennica Harrison, shares her perspective, experience, and implementation of standards-based grading in her secondary science classroom.
Jennica is very open and honest about the challenges she faced when implementing standards-based grading but says the pros outweigh the cons. She discusses her transition to this type of grading, practical tips for doing it, and how it impacted her students. Since this might be a different way of thinking, Jennica shares examples from her own classroom and grade book that provide clarification on how this works in a secondary science classroom.
As our conversation flowed, each topic she discussed brought up more questions from me about how standards-based grading worked, along with the mathematical side. Jennica explicitly explained her interpretation and how she has made this switch successful in her classroom. Ultimately, she says it really comes down to being transparent with your students, making mistakes and readjusting, and knowing it’s not going to be perfect all the time.
Grading for Equity by Joe FeldmanInner Orbit NGSS AssessmentsThe Wonder of Science Download your FREE Classroom Reset ChallengeSend me a DM on Instagram: @its.not.rocket.scienceSend me an email: firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts
Show Notes: https://itsnotrocketscienceclassroom.com/episode106
105. What Happened When I Stopped Assigning Formal Lab Reports
As science teachers, or teachers in general, we tend to have the mindset of doing things in our classroom the way we were taught, the way our department runs things, or what our colleague down the hall does. But if you really think about the reason behind what you’re doing, what you normally do might change. That’s exactly what happened with formal lab reports in my classroom. In this episode, I’m sharing why I ditched formal lab reports and how that decision impacted me and my students.
When I started to examine why I was assigning formal lab reports, I realized I was doing them for all the wrong reasons. So, when I finally made the decision to ditch them altogether, it greatly benefited my students and me. The pressure was off, and labs started to become enjoyable again, along with many other positive benefits. And since students weren’t getting critical thinking and scientific writing skills from the formal lab reports, I incorporated supplemental activities that provided students opportunities to practice those skills.
I’m aware that some science teachers feel very strongly about doing formal lab reports, and this might be a controversial episode, but for me, they didn’t serve a purpose in my classroom anymore. By ditching formal lab reports, it transformed the culture on lab days while still finding ways for students to practice skills that will help and support them later in their educational career. So whether you continue to do formal lab reports in your science classes or not, I hope this episode encourages you to make appropriate changes that are best for you and your students!
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Show Notes: https://itsnotrocketscienceclassroom.com/episode105
104. Using Summative Assessments to Prepare Students for Standardized Tests
After we teach a unit, what typically comes immediately after are summative assessments, and there are a lot of different types. Last week, I talked about authentic assessments, which still assess student learning but in a non-traditional way. And even though I value that type of assessment, I still believe in taking traditional tests. In today’s episode, I’m sharing how to use your unit test to prepare your students for taking any future standardized test.
Giving traditional summative assessments does provide useful information for the teacher, such as personal benchmarks and self-reflection on teaching concepts. But it also benefits students as they learn valuable test-taking strategies for when they take standardized tests or other forms of assessments throughout their educational journey. The five tips I share will specifically help your students with standardized tests as they take your unit tests.
Taking summative assessments is completely valuable to both teachers and students, so it’s important to highlight the benefits and show that test-taking skills and strategies are valuable. By giving unit tests, you are supporting students and building those skills needed to take standardized tests in the future.
Biology Midterm and Final Exam Review and Test PackPhysical Science Midterm and Final Exam Review and Test PackAnatomy Midterm and Final Exam Review and Test PackDownload your FREE Classroom Reset ChallengeSend me a DM on Instagram: @its.not.rocket.scienceSend me an email: firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts
Show Notes: https://itsnotrocketscienceclassroom.com/episode104
103. Authentic Assessments: How to Assess Students in a Way That Actually Matters
If you ask any student what they didn’t like about school, I bet assessments would be toward the top of their list. But what if you could create assessments that students actually enjoyed and liked? Okay, well, maybe that’s going too far, but you can definitely create assessments that are the best representation of their knowledge. I call those authentic assessments. In today’s episode, I’m going to share why I incorporate non-traditional assessments and four practical tips on how to implement them in your own classroom.
Authentic assessments might be a new term, so I help break down what I mean and how it directly impacts students in a positive way. Additionally, I give reasons why authentic assessments should be used, especially in relation to expressing what students know in a way that’s more than multiple choice and memorization. Likewise, when it comes to implementation, keeping the whole child in mind, along with their qualities, is why they’re at the forefront of my mind.
With midterm exams, semester exams on the horizon, and other exams in your class, now seemed like a good time to discuss assessments. And while traditional assessments are necessary at times, I encourage you to think outside the box and give your students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge through authentic assessments. Stay tuned to next week’s episode for more on this topic as we continue our mini-series on summative assessments!
Biology Midterm and Final Exam Review and Test PackPhysical Science Midterm and Final Exam Review and Test PackAnatomy Midterm and Final Exam Review and Test PackEpisode 94, How to Deal with Cheating in Your High School Science ClassesEpisode 87, Aligning Your Assessments: Curriculum Design Part 5Episode 51, 5 Alternatives to Traditional Midterm ExamsDownload your FREE Classroom Reset ChallengeSend me a DM on Instagram: @its.not.rocket.scienceSend me an email: email@example.comFollow, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts
Show Notes: https://itsnotrocketscienceclassroom.com/episode103
102. Tips for Teaching Waves and Kinematics in Your Physics Class With Guest Laura Preiser
All month long, I’ve been diving into the most difficult topics to teach in each of the science disciplines, and we have finally made it to the last discipline - physics. I love all things science, but physics is not a discipline I have a lot of experience in. So instead, I decided to bring on a listener of the podcast who is knowledgeable and has experience teaching physics. Laura Preiser is my guest on this episode and is sharing the two topics that are difficult for teachers and students and tips and advice for teaching each.
As Laura identifies waves and kinematics as the most difficult topics to teach in physics, she also shares various activities, labs, and general tips that make these two topics engaging, fun, and enjoyable for her students and herself. By making small changes to the way topics are taught and the timing of when they’re taught, it can make a huge difference in how a student feels about the topic.
With the help of Laura, we have concluded our series that tackles the most difficult topics to teach in each discipline while also sharing advice and tips that make the topics in those disciplines engaging for teachers and students. Make sure to listen or revisit any of the other episodes on biology, chemistry, and anatomy!
Grab the Free Halloween ResourcesSound Wave StationsEM Wave Instagram Profile ProjectFantastic Four Stations - Kinematic EquationsPendulum Painting Lab - Conservation of EnergyLight Waves StationsDownload your FREE Classroom Reset ChallengeSend me a DM on Instagram: @its.not.rocket.scienceSend me an email: firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts
Show Notes: https://itsnotrocketscienceclassroom.com/episode102
101. 6 Tips for Teaching Stoichiometry in Your Chemistry Class
When I decided to do this series, I knew exactly what I was going to discuss when it came to the difficulties of teaching chemistry. Students get overwhelmed by all the math and more intense content that comes with this science discipline, particularly teaching stoichiometry. However, there are several things you can do to ease their stress and make this unit fun for your students. So, in today’s episode, I’m sharing 6 tips for teaching stoichiometry in your chemistry class.
There are a lot of concepts in chemistry that are difficult for students to grasp and understand, which is why it’s important to bring these up early or before you teach the content. Not only does this provide multiple opportunities to practice, but when it’s mentioned in the content, they already have seen it before. Additionally, teaching chemistry is more than just content. It’s teaching students problem-solving and critical thinking skills. And one of the best ways to achieve this is by incorporating real-world scenarios, labs, and activities in order for them to see the connection.
Even though your students may be apprehensive about the chemistry content, there are still things you can do to help alleviate and diminish their stress. By implementing these 6 tips and other pieces of advice, I hope to encourage you that teaching stoichiometry to your students will be fun and academic at the same time. Tune in next week for the last episode in the series about the difficult topics teaching physics.
Free Science Halloween ResourcesStoichiometry Unit - including Magnitude of a MoleChemistry Curriculum - Full Year BundleIntroduction to Chemistry UnitDimensional Analysis Activity - Fudge Lab Expansion PackFree Science Winter Resources - including Hot Chocolate Lab ActivityDownload your FREE Classroom Reset ChallengeSend me a DM on Instagram: @its.not.rocket.scienceSend me an email: email@example.comFollow, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts
Show Notes: https://itsnotrocketscienceclassroom.com/episode101
This is such a great resource!
This podcast and INRS resources have revolutionized the way I teach and the way I think about teaching secondary science. I would recommend this podcast to any science teacher, especially if you are a new teacher.
I’m currently going to school to be a high school chemistry teacher! Your pod cast is the best!!