In this episode, Mark talks with middle school modeling teacher George Nelson. They talk about the importance of building skills, rather than just focusing on making it through the assigned topics. Additionally they talk about the importance of classroom community and connecting with students.
George has taught middle school since 2009, and has been using modeling methodology for the past seven years. George became acquainted with Modeling Instruction from the 3rd Masters of Natural Science program at Arizona State University under the leadership of Colleen Megowan-Romanowicz. George takes pride that his students learning science by doing science. To summarize George’s experience, “Seeing my students talking about science has led them to conceptual understanding. While at the same time, they appreciate the actual process of science, which has been one of the most rewarding experiences as an educator.”
[14:41] George Nelson on content vs. skill building in middle school “that’s what I try to sell middle school teachers on is I think we look so much on pacing and trying to cover the curriculum and getting all this content. I think if we just … lead these kids off with solid, fundamental models of forces in motion, particle models, life science… I think they’ll pick it up. They’ll take it to the next level in high school.”
[22:40] George Nelson “in order to get kids to learn, you gotta be able to connect with them and build that environment where everyone feels safe.”
Talk Science Primer, PDF