GABI RET teachers and paleontologist Gary Morgan visiting Instituto Colegio David. Photo by K. Schmidt
Today we teachers had an amazing day that highlighted how universal the language of science really is. In the morning we looked at the marine fossils we collected yesterday on the Burica Peninsula and planned lessons to bring back to our classrooms. Even though I teach 8th grade science–mostly physical science concepts–I had no trouble finding lots of common ground with my two colleagues, Laura Taylor (high school environmental science in California) and Megan Higbee (6th and 7th grade earth and life science in Florida). We are creating an exploratory activity that could be used to teach several NGSS Science Practices using any set of fossil artifacts and that can be adapted for use with a variety of students at different grade levels. I’m really excited about it–especially since I discovered how to connect it to my required curriculum on chemistry. That was an AHA moment for me today! So many concepts truly connect in multiple ways and infuse all disciplines of science.
And that was just the morning…This afternoon we had a total cultural immersion, as we visited a high school, Instituto Colegio David, where I was blown away by the similarities between how we teach science at home and how these gifted Panamanians teach science here. We saw their students’ beautiful science notebooks and examples of their Science Fair project boards. On the white board were chemistry equations that students were learning to balance. Models of the body, tools such as balances and glassware were everywhere. The language of science is universal! And teaching science is all about the ideas and practices.
Panamanian student notebooks showing Spanish version of KWL and data tables. Photo by K. Schmidt
A Panamanian student’s Science Fair poster board. Photo by K. Schmidt