We have reached full capacity for this year’s Catalyst Conference in Richmond on October 25th. Thanks to all the delegates who’ve registered this year! See you on Friday!
Prabhjot Grewal, Science Teacher at North Delta Secondary School, is a Finalist for the Premier’s Award for Excellence in Teaching – Outstanding New Teacher Category. This prestigious award has ten categories, and thirty finalists. Prabhjot is one of three in her category. The ceremony will be held in Victoria at Government House on Friday, October 4. There they will announce the winners of the 10 categories.
Prabhjot and her team have been recipients of the Science Roots Grant. They have had the opportunity to develop approaches to assessment and engagement with the new core and curricular competencies at hand. Prabhjot and her team have embraced the competencies of our new curriculum. From her time since she was student teacher until now, she has grown exponentially in her ability and in her pedagogy. As a junior member of her science department, Prabhjot was part of a team that developed a comprehensive program for the new Science 9 Curriculum by integrating the competencies into their teaching repertoires. The fruits of this team’s labour have put them on the curriculum map in the Delta School District. After the senior teacher who led the team had moved on from her school, Prabhjot stepped up to lead two other novice teachers in this Science 9 endeavour. She leads her team through regular collaboration in developing activities, teaching approaches and finding ways to engage their students. In many ways, Prabhjot and her team have rejuvenated science in the most positive way. They have been a group that has inspired not only their students, but fellow colleagues and administrators as well.
Prabhjot and her team have been awarded the Roots Grant offered by BC Science Teachers’ Association. They were able to use the fund to grant them release time to work collaboratively together in developing their initiative. The BCScTA has been proud to support this endeavour. Congratulations Prabhjot!
We are currently accepting applications for the Fall 2019 Roots Grant Intake.
October 25, 2019: Steveston-London Secondary School, Richmond, BC
Registration is now open:
Guest Blog by Brenda Moore and Kent Rockwell
Kent and Brenda currently teach science at Alpha Secondary in Burnaby, BC. Kent teaches junior science and Chemistry. He is very interested in new possibilities for assessment and hands on ways to show learning. Brenda teaches junior Science, Math, and Physics. She is passionate about integrating her engineering background into activities that allow students to explore the design thinking and skill development.
Looking for an innovative way to assess the curricular competencies in your secondary science classroom? We were inspired by the Ministry of Education’s Framework for Classroom Assessment to create our own “Case Study Assessment” (CSA) for junior science (see image above).
Following the Sample Application for Grade 9 Science, we sought out major thematic pieces within Science 9 and 10 to use as a foundation for each CSA. For Science 10, we chose acid-base chemistry, and for Science 9, we chose Earth’s spheres. Links to our final CSA’s can be found here. We’ll take this opportunity to walk you through the process behind the final product!
Taking our Science 10 CSA, for example, we were looking for ways to assess students’ development of curricular competencies through the content pieces of pH and indicators. Our vision was for a place-based narrative to frame the CSA and provide meaningful context for the assessment. Through brainstorming we came up with the idea of contaminated run-off, and quickly linked this to the historical operations at Britannia Mine. When we started researching Brittania Mine and its environmental impact on the Howe Sound, we discovered that this was an issue that had been researched for many years. We constructed the CSA by providing detailed and relevant background information, and then dived into context-specific questions aligned with the Criteria Categories above. Students were expected to work within the narrative to analyze the raw data in order to form realistic conclusions about the impact of the mining activities on the natural environment.
When we implemented this in classes, students worked collaboratively on the CSA in partners. Students were assessed using the proficiency scale (see image below) in each of the curricular competencies.
We observed that students were engaged, focused and most importantly actively communicating with one another to develop their responses. Their partner discussions were rich and lively as they sought to support their ideas with evidence and reasoning. Students seemed more relaxed than a traditional test, as they focused on their critical thinking and communication as opposed to rote facts and repetition. After the CSA, students began posing questions related to the narrative and were eager to know ways to improve their responses.
Going forward, our vision is for each Big Idea in Science 8, 9, and 10 to be assessed using a CSA in place of a traditional unit test. The open-ended nature of this assessment shifts student focus away from content to thinking processes and reasoning, which better allows the educator to assess student development aligned with the competencies.
Other Case Study Data Resources:
The Spring Intake for the BCScTA Roots Grant is underway. We are currently accepting applications until May 31, 2019. Please go to the following link to apply.
Communities of science teachers are the roots of the BCScTA.
The BScTA is offering another two Science Roots Grants to support collaborative groups in quality science education initiatives to its current members for the 2019-2020 School Year.
In recognition of this, The BCScTA is supporting several collaborative groups, consisting of BCTF members, by providing funding for quality science education initiatives. These initiatives can take many forms and we are open to unique and creative submissions.
Examples of such initiatives could be: a collaborative teacher group developing assessment tools or science lab activities; developing methods of integrating more inquiry-based approaches; an exchange or articulation between elementary and secondary science teachers so that both levels vertically align with each other; a book club to expand on a teaching approach or idea; or sound approaches to authentically integrate First People’s Principles of Learning.
For this intake, the Science World kindly supports the Roots Grant recipients with admission for up to 90 students from their respective schools and $750 each for reimbursement of transportation.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Presenter, Exhibitor, and Sponsor applications are now being accepted.
2019 Science Games Steering Committee
Engineers and Geoscientists BC is looking for two educators to volunteer on our 2019 Science Games Steering Committee. This group develops the activities for our annual Science Games event in March. At the Science Games students from Grades 1-6 work in teams as they complete various hands-on science challenges. Division 1 activities are designed for students in Grades 1-3 and Division 2 activities are designed for students Grades 4-6. We’re looking for educators to volunteer on the committee and provide insight on the science curriculum for these grades and how we can tailor our challenges so they are appropriate for these age groups. Learn more about this volunteer opportunity or apply online.
If you have questions about this volunteer opportunity, please contact email@example.com.
TRIUMF & The BC Association of Physics Teachers
Are pleased to announce
“Kindling your passion for physics teaching”
Are you going to be teaching physics next year?
Come and be inspired by award-winning physics researchers and educators while networking with colleagues sharing practical resources, and learning about physics applications.
A Conference and Workshops for Secondary Science Teachers
Provincial Pro-D Day, Friday October 19th, 2018 at TRIUMF, Vancouver BC.
We are delighted to announce this year’s keynote speaker, Officer of the Order of Canada,
Dr. Jaymie Matthews – UBC Physics and Astronomy
SAVE THE DATE!
Detailed program and registration information to follow in September 2018.
Fix 15: Don’t leave students out of the grading process. Involve students; they can and should play key roles in assessment and grading and promote achievement.
Brilliant. Happy to end this journey on a positive note note. In my last post I was questioning leaving my students more “in the dark” so to speak about assessment, but I’m pleased to see that this isn’t a helpful practice. It’s nice to see my instincts and / or training are largely congruent to Ken’s 15 Fixes.
So, unfortunately with some of my students, I don’t feel that their involvement in assessment promotes achievement… yet. This is more of a longer term cultural shift for them I think, and it just takes time and consistency. Hopefully another year at the same school and the same crew of kids brings out that ownership in their own learning.
On that note I’m going to cut it short and say thanks for tuning in. I had fun with this project, and I always enjoy looking critically at my own practice. I strive to find better ways to engage my students and help them feel a sense of pride and curiosity around my lessons and their school. I think assessment in general is a real driver of both positive and negative associations with school, and I’m hoping that these 15 Fixes “rekindle the fire” so to speak about your own forward thinking in your classroom. Have a great summer!