Successfully teaching technology in the classroom involves more than just having students use the tools. It involves engaging students and seamlessly incorporating technology into lesson plans. As a former technology coordinator, NSTA member Rena Roybal was tasked with integrating science into K–5 technology classes. She used NSTA resources for content support and help with developing lesson plans.
Roybal: I relied heavily on SciPacks and SciGuides, which both gave me the background I needed to develop lessons that integrated technology and the science that the different grade levels were covering. (Note from NSTA: NSTA members receive a discount on SciPacks and SciGuides.)
I studied the SciPacks so that I would have enough background to teach my students the science lessons. I could have taught purely technology classes, but I find that it’s better if I can work with the grade levels and incorporate my lessons to support what they’re covering at the time. So, I used the Coral Reef Ecosystems SciPack for my fourth-grade lesson. Once I got the science background I needed from the SciPack, I had students conduct online research and also create food webs using Microsoft PowerPoint. Students created the food webs in PowerPoint because it was easy for them to add pictures to the program.
I found the Nutrition SciPack really helpful, too, when we covered the digestive system. I also needed help with classifications, so I spent time studying the Rocks SciPack. I was developing a lesson plan for the third graders who were covering rock classifications. Because I had never taught the upper grades (previously I had taught kindergarten and second grade), the SciPack helped me because I wasn’t familiar with the curriculum and the standards for the third, fourth, and fifth graders I was teaching. For the lesson on rocks, we reviewed classification and then students created thinking maps in Microsoft Word that illustrated the types of classification.
I also used the SciPaks for professional development classes. That helped me grow as a professional and the quizzes allowed me to truly assess myself. I used the SciGuides for assistance on thematic lesson plans and web-based resources.
How else has your NSTA membership helped you in your career?
Roybal: The Community Forums in the Learning Center are very helpful. Sometimes, I just log on and browse the forums. Even if the topic is not something I’m currently working on, I find it helpful to see what other teachers are doing. Getting feedback from other teachers helps you generate classroom ideas. I also like that you can search for resources on the Learning Center based on state standards. For me, NSTA is such a wealth of resources.
Not a member of NSTA? Learn more about how to join.
Jennifer Henderson is our guest blogger for this series. Before launching her freelance career as a writer/editor, Jennifer was Managing Editor of The Science Teacher, NSTA’s peer-reviewed journal for high school science teachers.