Sunday, February 28, 2016


In Mr.  Reiva’s junior/senior physics classes, students conduct a scientific investigation into the effects of carbon dioxide gas upon the heating of the Earth’s atmosphere.  This investigation is designed to confirm the effect of increased concentration of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere and the ability of this gas to absorb and store radiant energy from the sun.

In physics class, students have learned about the transfer of energy into closed systems and also the process of transforming energy from one form to another within the system.  Students utilize their understanding of the flow of energies and quantitatively assess energy transfer mechanisms that exist with respect to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Students use newly designed and constructed experimental apparatus to help improve the efficiency of the transfer of energy from radiant energy produced by a light bulb into the kinetic energy of gaseous molecules housed in a 2 liter plastic bottles.

Time spent on brainstorming ideas for original experimental apparatus designs eventually leads to the beginning of the construction process.   Students utilize material resources from the physics science classroom and build their experimental apparatus.

The testing begins with students placing a 2 liter bottle housing an atmosphere 1800ml of air and 200 ml of liquid water.  The designed experimental apparatus helps direct radiant energy into the bottle and atmosphere with greater efficiency.

Ideas for original experimental apparatus are brought into use as quantities of air and quantities of carbon dioxide are tested for their heat absorption capability.

Teams of students, work together, will not only create an experimental procedure using their experimental apparatus, but also study the effects that carbon dioxide has upon the absorption of radiant energy.

The rate of the rise in temperature of the atmosphere within the bottle system is recorded as part of the experimental process.  The resulting data collected on temperature with respect to time will be graphed and statistically assessed to determine a relationship.

Students determine the validity of their hypothesis on the effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by critically assessing the relationship between the physical composition of gases and their ability to absorb radiant energy.  This radiant energy is stored within the system as vibrational kinetic energy of gas molecules.

Students, working on project-based scientific research, present their findings to their peers in the physics science classroom.

This team of students produced evidence of the rate of heating of carbon dioxide gas of over 100 percent greater than a similar volume of air.

These students utilized their newly designed and constructed experimental apparatus that helped to increase the efficiency of radiant energy transfer into both the air and carbon dioxide gases.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Model-Based Science Teaching
in the Science Classroom

Personal attributes qualifying me as a science teacher reflect upon my students’ attitudes toward learning science.  It is a natural cause-and-effect that spontaneously develops from my relationship with students in my classroom.  How learning is modeled in the science classroom is critical to the development of students’ perception of the world that they live in and their place in this world.

Purpose and perseverance in the science classroom stem from a teachers’ effort to provide their students with inquiry-driven learning experiences and effective modeling creating an explanatory framework in sync with human thought processes. My goal, as a science educator, is for students to not only care about what they learn, but to also work to better understand their own learning process that they experience every day of their lives.

Purpose is innate to intrinsic motivation.  It is an out crop of constructed models of learning created by teachers and producing engaged classrooms.  An engaged classroom has high attention, high commitment, an intrinsic driving force for learning and a passion to create!  Some of the most important factors that comprise Model-Based Science Teaching (MBST) are imagery to anchor ideas within a mind-set, scientific inquiry relying on rational and logical thought and the creation of products expressing learning outcomes.

Differentiation of science curriculum create models of learning giving students choice in their own learning and this lends to outcomes that are long-lasting and more meaningful.  Also, creating familiar imagery is crucial to student-developed models of the world.  Imagery including pictures, presentations, graphs and videos have a tremendous cognitive effect upon thinking and learning. Applying this with traditional reading assignments, required vocabulary and mathematical equations in science education produce powerful models by which students learn.

Inquiry in the classroom, including engineering design projects, hands-on inquiry-based science labs and virtual interactive computerized models of inquiry, are critical factors that positively contribute to the success of MBST in the science classroom.  Learning in the classroom is tied to imagery in profound ways.  It provides the means by which learning models can deliver relevancy and rigor that our children need in school as they work to become productive members of our society. A learning environment that lends not only to how people learn, but provide choice as a meaningful part of this learning process, is well-suited to the education needed in the 21st century.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Fight Boredom
Stop Random Acts of Excellence
Provide Intellectual Challenges Every day!

Albert Einstein once said, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”  I believe I hear a similar chorus coming from my students in the science classroom.  For them to think and to be curious are not mutually exclusive. They long for opportunities to be able to express academic effort and achievement with some level of creativity and innovative thought.

Intellectual challenges, taxing students’ ability to perform and tied to their understanding, is fundamental to the educational opportunities provided by schools that are committed to delivering acts of excellence and increased motivation in learning.

How do you create learning experiences in the classroom for students who probe for meaning and understanding in a universe that acts upon their lives?  How is this a motivating experience for these young learners?  Get them to build cars! Get them to realize the essence of the physics of electric cars.  Show them existing and future technologies of electric cars, then let their imaginations run wild!

Students realizing and capitalizing upon their skills and abilities as problem solvers and innovators can construct and test radial new electric car designs that help them to emulate the physics impacting their lives.  To be motivated to want to know for knowing sake is what creates value within the curious minds of our students.  Engineering challenges, like the Electric Car Project within the science curriculum, plants seeds of value within creative minds and leads to students’ academic success, while building character, providing long-lasting influence and is considered relevant to their lives.