Virginia Association of Science Teachers

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  • JVSE Vol. 15, No. 1

In This Issue

From the Editors:  Amanda Gonczi and Jennifer Maeng

  • Lesson Activity: A Culturally Responsive Model for Teaching the Criteria for Life  Vera Roberts Jackson, M.S.

Abstract: In this lesson, culturally responsive pedagogy was used to engage students in an exploration of life characteristics. Living organisms have cellular organization, reproduce, grow and develop, respond to stimuli, have a genetic code, maintain a stable internal environment

(homeostasis), require energy, and evolve. Students completed the Characteristics of Life Digital Interactive Notebook activity to learn these concepts. Students collaborated with peers to show evidence of their learning on dry erase boards during the Characteristics of Life Game. Producing a Characteristics of Life Poster was an excellent activity for students. A formative assessment in the form of a quiz, helped the teacher understand where students needed more support understanding concepts. This culturally responsive lesson served as a foundation for more advanced study of cellular organization and processes.

  • Lesson Activity: Biomedical Engineering: Engaging Students in STEM in the Biology Classroom  Shannon Marie Dadd and Eva Marie Kane

Abstract: Have you ever had difficulty planning an integrated STEM lesson in a life science area? Integrated STEM activities seem to come more easily in some content areas than others. If you do an Internet search for K-12 STEM activities, millions of sites will flood your screen, with the large majority focused on physical science concepts such as velocity, acceleration, force, etc. For instance, when searching curricula on only 370 hits for biology/life science curricula came up as opposed to 1,038 hits for other science content areas. When we asked educators to list STEM activities that came to mind, most of them stated activities that focused on physical science. A large proportion of educators admitted to being frustrated when planning STEM lessons focused on life science concepts due the lack of resources, especially at the secondary level (Bales, 2019). In this article, we present a list of resources for educators to help them effectively plan and incorporate life science STEM-focused activities into their high school classrooms.

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