Name: Gerard Kovach
Gerard teaches middle school Science at John T. McCutcheon Elementary School in Chicago’s culturally diverse Uptown neighborhood. He has passion for teaching STEM and instilling enthusiasm for learning in his students. Gerard is a National Board Certified Teacher and he was nominated for and received the prestigious Golden Apple Fellowship Award.
Narrative of Amazing Teaching Moment:
This lesson was designed and implemented to remind my 6th grade students upon entering middle school that children are the most curious human beings and that Science is about continuing to ignite that flame that sparks their natural curiosity and wonder about our world. This lesson uses simple Ultraviolet Beads to establish that foundation.
I start the lesson by presenting each student with 5-10 UV beads, string for making a personal bracelet, and of course, some scissors for cutting. I do not tell them the beads are special beads that change colors when exposed to sunlight or other sources of Ultraviolet light. With their bracelets on, we go outside with our science notebooks and pencils in hand.
Once outside, my students’ innate wonder is once again sparked upon observing that the UV beads change colors from their original dull white. Students then take notes by drawing and labeling changes that occur and questions that come to their minds.
Eventually, the class creates a list of reasons why they think the beads changed colors. This leads to the second goal of this lesson, designing and carrying out investigations. The students are then ready for experimental design. Many students have the misconception that temperature affects the color changes in the beads, while others think it is sunlight. My students set up experiments to see which variable is responsible.
Temperature is ruled out by observing that it has no effect on the beads.
They now realize that all Science begins with their own personal wonder and awe about natural phenomena in our world, and are now ready to continue questioning in order to dig deeper into other phenomena such as the electromagnetic spectrum, energy, atoms and molecules, and photosynthesis.
Hashtags (at least 7): #Biology, #6thgradeScience, #studentchoice, #MSUrbanSTEM, #experimental design, #outdoorSTEM, #UVbeads
Pi Group's BIG 5 Common Themes
- Real World Connections- students applying their classroom knowledge to a situation that they may encounter in their everyday life.
- Student engagement- sparks student curiosity through inquiry based activities that allows them to discover new content.
- Interdisciplinary- see the overarching connections between different subject areas by completing a project that integrates various disciplines.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic - lessons which allow learners to move around to explore, including their environment outside the classroom. Meets the need for non-traditional learning styles.
- TPACK- Merging our pedagogy and content knowledge expertise to repurpose a piece of technology that can transform a traditional approach to the content area.