Students Benefit from Teachers’ Professional Learning


Cobb students are benefiting from the new Cobb Teaching and Learning Standards and the professional learning in which their teachers are participating to become experts at implementing three-dimensional science instruction.

The new science standards expect students to engage in science and engineering practices (Dimension 1) and utilize crosscutting concepts (Dimension 2) to fully comprehend core science content topics (Dimension 3). When teachers implement 3-D science instruction, students “do” science regularly and get to enjoy the thrill of scientific inquiry.

Recently, 8Th Grade Physical Science teachers had the opportunity to learn about Newton’s Laws of Motion from Phillip Matthews, a physics teacher at Kennesaw Mountain High School, as part of the Physical Science Professional Learning Community (PLC) program being offered by the Cobb County Science Department. Teachers experimented with dynamic carts, pulled each other on scooters and collected data from a bowling ball during experiments. Then, teachers were expected to translate this knowledge to their classroom by designing engaging lessons for students.


Erica Jordan, an 8th grade science teacher at Lindley Middle School, shares how the PLC has impacted her and her students: “I joined the 8th grade science PLC to get a better understanding of crosscutting concepts and to take my hands-on activities to the next level. The sessions have helped me extend my previous lessons to require more critical thinking from my students. For example, I did a lab on acceleration in which the students had to design a way to use pulleys and bottles of sand to show the relationship between force, mass and acceleration. Some students struggled with building the pulley and how to attach the sand to the string and car. But after several attempts, the students got the concept that the sand applied the force, which caused the car to accelerate toward the sand, which they related to Newton’s second law.“


Kristen Crain, a teacher a Dickerson Middle School, adds, “I am loving the collaboration and connection to the new scientific practices and crosscutting concepts– it is helping to solidify and reinforce how we are connecting to specific concepts in our class.  This allows my students to make deeper connections and helps me to make connections between what students are learning in math and social studies, as well as what they have learned in previous science courses.  A great example is the connection I can make between the calculation of half-life to the decomposing of radioactive particles and how those concepts are related to carbon dating in identifying the age of artifacts in history and anthropology.”

Follow the Cobb Science Department on Twitter (@cobbscience) to see students from throughout the district engaging in hands-on science.

Christian Cali, Supervisor

Contributing Author: Tracy Matthews, K-12 Science Professional Learning Specialist

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