The Magic of Spring, Seeds, and Science!


by Priscilla Robinson

Spring in the Pacific Northwest comes with a fanfare of germinating seeds, blossoming flowers, and budding trees.  As a science educator, I like to jump on Mother Nature’s bandwagon to bring this burst of plant life into my classroom.  What your students see every day can bloom into teachable moments.  These learning ideas will help you make the most out of the magic and science of spring.

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The Power of Electricity, Magnetism… and Infomercials!


Educational Innovations BlogBy Cathy Byrne

Virtually all fourth grade students explore electricity and magnetism.  As part of this unit, students are asked to do two things:

1 –   Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents (4-PS3-2)

2 –   Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another (4-PS3-4). 

This year, the teachers at my school put a new twist on our electricity and magnetism unit… and the results were amazing!

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A Light at the Smithsonian: Notes from a Spectroscopist


Alex Scheelineby Alex Scheeline

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, on the national mall in Washington, D.C., has an especially fascinating exhibit on Thomas Edison.  The exhibit highlights the development of electricity and lighting, and, more generally, invention.  In late 2017, I visited an area that featured a set of lamps—including a low-pressure sodium vapor lamp, a mercury lamp, an incandescent lamp, and a compact fluorescent lamp.

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Science Fairs in the News


latino-professor-newspaperYou might be surprised how much news there is about the ubiquitous science fair!  We have collected a few worthy articles for you.  Some are funny, others are provocative—and they’re all worth a look.

If you come across an article of interest, please share it with us in the Comments section below.

Happy reading!

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Science Fair Discussion Starters


Discussion Starters - Educational Innovations NewsletterWhy are science fairs important?  What makes the science fair process valuable?  It’s an excellent question and a good way to start a class discussion about this time-honored tradition.  First and foremost, why DO we ask our students to work on a science fair project year after year?   The answer, in a nutshell, is to help them learn how to think like scientists.  Scientists find answers to questions that interest them.  In other words, your students simply need to ask themselves, What do I want to know more about?

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