Science Connections

Science Connections

From the science classroom. For the science classroom. Science education looks different today than it ever has before. The constant flow of new ideas and challenges opens up exciting opportunities for scientists, educators, and learners alike to reexamine our world and our place in it. Join middle school science educator Eric Cross as he sits down with fellow educators, scientists, and engineers to explore the best ways we can improve our K–8 science teaching practices and create wonder for young minds.

Episodes

December 5, 2023 59 mins

Tune in to the finale of Science Connections with elementary educator and recipient of the 2023 Anton Banko Award for Excellence in Teaching Elementary Science, Kate Bala. In this episode, Kate shares teaching tips on how she seamlessly integrates science with other content areas to give students an engaging, phenomena-based learning experience. Listen to hear about Kate’s unique teaching style and the helpful tips she offers to ma...

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Join us as we sit down with doctoral student and 2023 NSTA keynote speaker, Minerva Contreras. Listen as Minerva tells her science story, discusses the benefits of storytelling in science, and shares how diverse representation and inclusion in science opens doors for students.

And don’t forget to grab your Science Connections study guide to track your learning!

For more from Minerva, check out these resources:

  • Watch the ...
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Join us as we continue our discussion on the importance of integrating critical thinking into the science classroom with former teacher and current director of education at the Center for Inquiry, Bertha Vazquez. Listen as Bertha shares her experience with engaging students through identifying pseudoscience, and how developing these skills creates an identifiable impact on the real world.

For more from Bertha , check out t...

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June 22, 2023 57 mins

Join us as we sit down with Melanie Trecek-King, college professor and creator of Thinking is Power, to explore how much of an asset science can truly be in developing the skills students need to navigate the real world. You’ll learn about “fooling” students and the importance of developing critical thinking, information literacy, and science literacy in the classroom. We’ll also share real strategies and lesson examples that help ...

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In the latest episode of the Science Connections podcast, we explore using AI in the classroom and its impact on our students.  Listen as I sit down with teachers Donnie Piercey and Jennifer Roberts to discuss ChatGPT and how we can use it to build science and literacy skills in K–12 classrooms while preparing students for the real world. 

And don’t forget to grab your Science Connections study guide to track your learning and find ...

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We’re continuing our investigations around science and literacy with Doug Fisher, Ph.D., professor and chair of educational leadership at San Diego State University. We talk about the importance of integrating science and literacy, as well as practical guidance for teachers who want to unite the two disciplines in their own classrooms.

Listen as we discuss how science and literacy can be powerful allies and specific strategy areas t...

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In our second episode of the season, we continue finding ways that science is overlooked and how it can be better utilized in schools—and as an ally to other subjects! 

We sat down with Dr. Susan Gomez Zwiep, former middle school science teacher and senior science educator and staff advocate at BSCC Science Learning. She shared past experiences and research that shows the benefits of integrating science and literacy, as well as stra...

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It's time for season 3 of the Science Connections podcast! In our first episode, we unpack the research around our season theme of science as the underdog with Horizon Research, Inc. Vice President Eric R. Banilower and  Senior Researcher Courtney Plumley. Eric and Courtney dive into the research they’ve found and their experiences as former educators to show how science is often overlooked in K–12 classrooms. 

Listen...

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Listen to the last episode in our Winter Wrap-Up! 
In this conversation from season 1, Eric sits down with Shad Lacefield, 2021 Kentucky Science Teacher of the Year. Shad shares his experience teaching during the first year of the pandemic, which included dressing up in over 100 costumes to create unique and engaging online learning experiences for his students. Shad also explains ways he connects with his students to celebrate...

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While we’re hard at work producing the exciting third season of Science Connections: The Podcast, we’re continuing to share some of our favorite conversations from our first two seasons. This time we’re revisiting a popular episode from season 1: Overcoming adversity in the classroom featuring Joe McCormick, director of engineering at Splitspot.

Hear Joe’s story about losing his vision at a young age, gaining new support and communi...

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While we gear up for the next season of Science Connections: The Podcast, we're revisiting some of our favorite conversations from past seasons!

In this episode, we join Eric Cross as he sits down with physicist and science education specialist, Desiré Whitmore. Listen in as Desiré explains her work at the Exploratorium, a public learning laboratory. Eric and Desiré discuss finding passion in science, the importance o...

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In this episode, Eric Cross sits down with TikTok star and podcast host Lauran Woolley about her experience teaching science content within her K–5 classroom. Lauran shares how she’s learned how to make time for science, and what most K–5 teachers experience when creating their own science curriculum. Lauran also talks about her rise in popularity on TikTok, her podcast, Teachers Off Duty, and establishing strong relationships with...

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In this episode, Eric Cross sits with K–5 educator, Janis Lodge to chat about building on her own science curriculum to create meaningful project-based learning experiences. Janis shares her work teaching Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), and how to use those practices to help accelerate the learning of all students. Eric and Janis also talk about making time for science within K–5 classrooms.

Check out the project Ja...

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In this episode, Eric Cross sits down with his colleague and friend Fabian Hofmann to talk through gamification in the K–8 classroom. They discuss Fabian's experience teaching outside of the United States, and the differences in classrooms outside of the country. Fabian explains how to integrate game mechanisms in the classroom, standard-based grading, and shifting student thinking about learning by forming strong relationship...

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In this episode, Eric Cross sits down with Sharita Ware, Indiana State Teacher of the Year to talk about how to build meaningful student connections. Sharita shares her journey from a corporate career to becoming Indiana's 2022 Teacher of the Year, and her passion for creating project-based lessons for her students.  Together, Eric and Sharita discuss how educators can teach students to love science content by building strong ...

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In this episode, Eric Cross sits down with veteran educator and former Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) Middle School Science Teacher of the Year, Marilyn Dieppa. Marilyn shares tips for new teachers, ways to inspire students, and how she utilizes her journalism background to develop literacy skills within her science classroom. She also shares her experiences developing a robotics academy, and the VEX IQ World’s Comp...
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In this special solo episode, Eric Cross starts the season by sharing his personal journey as an educator, and how the difficulties of the last few years have shaped his mindset going into the upcoming school year. Eric also addresses teacher burnout and what inspires him to continue working as a classroom educator.

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In the final episode of the season, Eric sits down with his friend and professional development facilitator, Jessica Kelser. During the episode, Jessica describes her passion for sharing high-quality, empathy-centered professional development for K–12 educators. The conversation also dives into Jessica's experiences teaching in Philadelphia, and how teachers' roles often involve more than just delivering content.

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In this episode, Eric sits down with Ricky Mason, CEO of BrainSTEM. Ricky shares his passion for inspiring students into science careers, and his path from an engineering career with organizations like the Department of Defense, NASA, and the CIA to starting BrainSTEM, an education program that develops creative digital tools to enable all teachers and students to dive deeper into STEM content. Ricky and Eric talk about representat...

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In this episode, our host Eric Cross sits down with Miami-based educator, Valeria Rodriguez. Valeria shares her journey of serving in the Peace Corps, working a corporate job, and eventually finding her passion as a middle-school science teacher. Listen in as Valeria explains how sketchnoting, a form of note-taking that utilizes illustrations, encourages student choice and creativity in her classroom. Eric and Valeria discuss the i...

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