Science is a verb – and how to shift lab paradigms to reflect it 1

I read a wonderful post lately about the use of models in science classrooms.  In it, Drew Roman wrote: “The second greatest mistake in science education is to teach the book of knowledge in isolation from the process of scientific inquiry, or with process itself defined as a recipe to memorize.” (I also happen to […]

Project and Problem-Based Learning – just semantics or real difference?

We educators are famous (or should I say infamous) for using multiple terms for the same thing, changing those terms frequently and using lots of acronyms (I’ve heard education lingo referred to as “alphabet soup”).  So are “Project Based Learning” and “Problem Based Learning” both talking about the same thing (they are both “PBL” after […]

Creating moments when you can’t “Just Google It”

The questions students investigate in school have answers that someone, somewhere (usually including the teacher) already knows.  Even teachers that are using carefully constructed, wonderfully inquiry lessons are almost always having students investigate something for which the answer is already known. I’ve spent the last four years working with graduate science fellows to bring their […]

You say it can’t be done. Have you tried it?

One of the things I run up against often in my workshops on student-paced and student-directed mastery learning classrooms is the “that won’t work” response.  And today I read a blog post that was asking connected teachers to stop “ignoring reality” in the ideas that we post/talk about.  An example the blogger gave was there […]


Why designing experiments is so hard for students & what we can do to help! 9

We’ve all heard all about how inquiry is important in science classrooms.  So why is it so hard to do?  And why are there still so teachers reluctant to do it?  Well, for lots of reasons actually…but this post will just talk about one of them – because it’s really hard to do it AND […]

Myth #2 of Mastery Learning – It doesn’t work & that’s why we quit using it 2

I’m working on a series of blog posts about the myths of Mastery Learning.  Myth #1 – It’s self-taught can be read here! On to #2…Mastery Learning doesn’t work & that’s why we quit using it. Mastery learning, like most things in education, is not new.  It has had its fair share of pendulum swings.  […]

Myth #1 of Mastery Learning – It’s self-taught

While running a mastery learning science classroom, I encountered a lot of myths – from students, parents, administrators and colleagues.  My book on mastery in the science classroom walks you through a lot of these and how to deal with them.  I’ll address some from time to time on this blog! So the first one […]