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 this 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 exhibit on Thomas Edison that includes the development of electricity and lighting, and, more generally, invention.  One area that I saw in late 2017 had 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.  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.  Your students simply need to ask themselves, What do I want to know more about?

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Science Fair Lesson


Lesson - Educational Innovations Blog

Before starting any science fair project, your students need a strong foundation in the scientific method.

As this helpful primer from Science Buddies states, “Whether you are doing a science fair project, a classroom science activity, independent research, or any other hands-on science inquiry, understanding the steps of the scientific method will help you focus your scientific question and work through your observations and data to answer the question as well as possible.”

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