A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Lesson 01 - An Introduction to Science Instruction
In this first lesson, we'll go over the challenges and joys of teaching science to this age group. You'll learn why this subject can be so difficult to teach and some specific ways to overcome those difficulties. We'll also discuss how you can help your students use their textbooks most effectively and some great tricks to help your students improve their memories.
Lesson 02 - The Scientific Method
We'll begin this lesson with a short history lesson. You'll learn about some of the wrong beliefs scientists held just a few centuries ago and how some courageous scientists challenged those beliefs. Then we'll move on to a discussion about different types of scientific research where you'll learn the distinctions between correlational studies, demonstrations, and experiments. We'll next focus on using the scientific method to design great experiments, and you'll become an expert at identifying control and experimental groups, and control, independent, and dependent variables. Most importantly, you'll be able to convey that knowledge to your students!
Lesson 03 - The Nature of Science
For most of human history, we believed that the sun and other planets orbited the earth. To help you gain a firm understanding of the nature of science, we'll discuss the lives of four scientists who challenged that conventional theory about the solar system. You'll see how our present understanding of the solar system changed over time, an important illustration of the development of scientific thought. After you learn about the differences between models, theories, and laws, I'll walk you through a lesson plan that will help your students understand the nature of science, and give you some suggestions for special projects your students might enjoy.
Lesson 04 - Principles of Direct Instruction
Research shows that using direct instruction increases achievement in the science classroom. In this lesson, I'll explain exactly what direct instruction involves and show you how it lays a strong foundation for higher-level thinking skills. You'll learn about a valuable concept called the Zone of Proximal Development, freeing you to meet the needs of the individual children in your classroom. We'll discuss scaffolding, a great technique related to this concept. And to demonstrate these principles, we'll go through a lesson plan step-by-step that you can use as a model.
Lesson 05 - Learning and Organizational Tools
We'll continue our discussion of teaching methods in this lesson. First, though, we'll discuss the steps successful students follow when they learn new information. You'll see how excellent instruction helps students go through these steps, and how you can meet four distinct objectives when teaching new material. We'll then move on to using outlines, charts, and concept maps. I'll share an example of an assignment checklist you can give your students to help them stay organized. I'll also include a teacher's checklist to help you plan your chapter and unit studies.
Lesson 06 - Writing a Research Paper
Students must write research papers throughout their educational careers. Now is a great time to help them acquire great writing skills through direct instruction. To help all my students succeed, I developed a guide to help them, including pages to help them organize their notes, a set of questions they should answer, a way to record the references they used, and templates for their bibliographies. For further assistance, I gave them a checklist to keep them on track. I'll share this guide with you in this lesson, and you're free to use it with your own students. We'll also talk about why you should reduce your support during subsequent papers so your students become more independent.
Lesson 07 - The Emotional Environment in the Classroom
We all know those teachers who seem to possess a special magic. Their students love them, yet they aren't pushovers. Successful teachers understand the importance of a positive emotional climate in the classroom. They know it fosters learning, encourages students' efforts, and builds great relationships. In this lesson, we'll discuss specific ways you can be one of those teachers. We'll even address the special needs of this age group, since many will begin puberty during this time.
Lesson 08 - Essential Concepts in Physical Science
Today, we'll concentrate on the driving force that exists in both chemistry and physics—the drive for equilibrium. We'll start by reviewing some basic principles of chemistry, including the structure and behavior of atoms, ions, and molecules. Then we'll go over states of matter and the differences between their shape, volume, structure, molecular movement, and energy level. By the end of the lesson, you'll have a good understanding of thermal, mechanical, and chemical equilibrium and you'll know how to teach those concepts to your students. And I'll include some fun activities you can share with your students that they'll really enjoy.
Lesson 09 - Essential Concepts in Life Science, Part I
Amazingly, all living creatures, no matter how different, share some common characteristics. Once your students understand these characteristics, they'll have a greater appreciation for all living organisms. Today we'll go over these characteristics and talk about the way all living creatures are organized. You'll learn more about the different roles of the organ systems, and we'll end the lesson with a discussion of modern cell theory. Throughout the lesson, I'll give you ideas for activities you can use to teach these concepts to your students.
Lesson 10 - Essential Concepts in Life Science, Part II
Everything that happens inside living organisms, and much of their behavior, is driven by the need to maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis is the maintenance of a stable internal environment, no matter what's happening in the environment. It's an essential concept for both you and your students to understand, so we'll spend some time on it in this lesson. Then we'll go on to a discussion about equilibrium in ecosystems. I'll share a unit study that you'll students will love—the development of an environmental notebook.
Lesson 11 - Earth Science and Science Process Skills
As most of you know, school districts put a big emphasis on standardized tests. Students are expected to master the ability to read and interpret several different types of graphs. In this lesson, I'll use a topic in earth science, the atmosphere, to show you ways to help your students master this skill. You'll learn how to construct graphs one step at a time, so you can pass that skill on to your students. If students can construct their own graphs, they're more likely to accurately interpret those others have made. We'll cover pie charts, single- and multiple-bar charts, single- and multiple-line charts, and scatter plots.
Lesson 12 - Science Fair
If your school puts on a science fair, you know that it's something teachers, parents, and students often greet with a mixture of fear and dread. It doesn't have to be that way. In our final lesson, I'll give you worksheets and checklists to guide you and your students every step of the way, making the process more manageable. I'll also share a guide for oral presentations and a sample judging sheet. I know you'll see the value of science fairs after you finish with this lesson!