What is "Understanding Science" and how can it be used as a educational resource? By Ronald Griffin
Understanding Science was started by the collaboration of the University of California at Berkeley, National Science Foundation, and a collection of scientists and teachers. This website was created to provide a free and fun understanding of science.
The first resource Understanding Science offers that I would like to talk about is Understanding Science 101. This resource is a complete overview of science and why it is important to learn. It goes over the basic principles of science interactively giving simple and interesting examples along the way. I can see this resource being helpful on several fronts. The first is tutoring. If a student is having problems understanding scientific concepts or processes, this would be a perfect fit. The other application is motivation. Many students (including myself), have a hard time learning if they don't understand why the material is important and how it fits into everyday life. Understanding Science 101 succeeds in relating fundamental concepts to everyday life and why they are important to learn.
The second resource is titled For Teachers. This resource provides many great ideas for science teachers. Some of the ideas range from lesson plans to teaching tips. Another great thing about this resource is that it is categorized by grade level. A 10th grade teacher has their own unique set of conceptual tips from say a 6th grade teacher. A section titled Misconceptions about science gives teachers a great reference on common problems students run into when studying science, and it offers solutions to these problems. One core value of teaching is to always be a learner yourself, this resource allows teachers to learn about their students and ways to reach them.
The third resource is titled Resource Library. This resource offers pictures, video, and a huge amount of information on a variety of scientific topics. Teachers and students alike can use this to supplement education. Teachers can use the content for lesson plans or labs, and students can use it to deepen their understanding of science in an interactive interesting way.
Overall, this program can help scientific information seem easy to students, while providing a large resource to teachers. Sometimes science can be a subject that is deemed "difficult" to understand, and that's why it is extremely important for science teachers to be equipped with every tool possible to educate students. I am definitely adding Understanding Science to my list of resources I will use once I become a teacher. Doing this will add another notch onto my educational tool belt, and also give my students another avenue to explore great scientific content.