Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Stop Faking It! II

Earlier this year I posted about registering for a Stop Faking It! workshop. Well, last week I attended the workshop as part of the National Science Teachers Association Area Conference in the lovely city of Baltimore - it was fabulous! Actually the whole conference was. I was impressed with the variety of sessions and the quality of nearly all of the sessions that I attended.

This workshop was led by the amusing and energetic author of the Stop Faking It! materials, Bill Robertson. Bill took the 40 of us K-12 educators through force and motion concepts using the learning cycle model. We had a great time playing with chairs, ping pong balls, and balloon rockets; but the real fun was the audible "ah-ha" moments when the science behind these (sometimes commonly used) activities sunk into our brains for the first time.

Most of the sessions at the meeting were aimed at helping teachers teach science concepts to students, but Bill's workshops (and books) focus on helping teachers better understand concepts. See, he believes that teachers with a deep understanding of the science behind textbook claims will be more effective, confident teachers.

I studied physics for a long time, but this 4 hour workshop exposed the sloppy thinking that I've fallen into and my tendency to look to equations to solve problems instead of concepts. What a great reminder of why physics is so cool!

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