Irene Salter

Brains and Neurons

How does a brain - less than 3 pounds of wrinkly pink matter - enable a person to sense their environment, think, feel, make decisions, remember things, and control every behavior?

Bio 101 syllabus

Here's my current plan for the Bio 101 course for undergraduates planning on entering teaching. I encourage any other college professors out there teaching a similar course to give me feedback or use a similar syllabus yourself!

Teaching electron configuration

In response to a question on ways to teach electron configuration to students, here's a model I used with my 8th graders. We had been using beans to represent and build 2D models of atoms (green lentils = electrons, white beans = protons, black beans = neutrons). I made a handout for them to help them understand the idea of where electrons like to go when they are added (download it at the bottom of this page).

What other web resources can you recommend?

On December 9, 2006 I led a workshop for new teachers called "Web Wonders and Wizardry". A main feature of the workshop was a list of websites recommended by myself and other educators. Here's the list for everyone to enjoy!

Portals and Search Engines
In addition to being able to search the Learning Studio’s catalog, you can also find an amazing list of teacher resources (click “Resource Guide” under the orange tab), including many ideas related to current exhibits (great if you plan to bring kids to the museum for a field trip!).
- Jo Falcon, Learning Studio
The Librarians' Internet Index is a publicly-funded website and weekly newsletter that lists “the best of the Web” according to librarians.
- Irene Salter
Does your district insist on literature connections to your science curriculum? The “Literature for Science and Mathematics: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve” website is a collection of science-and mathematics-related literature that can be searched by subject area, grade level, keyword, author and more.
- Connie Oliver

Many TI hands-on activities and many more can be found on the Exploratorium’s hands on activity site. Find science “snacks” on every topic under the sun.
- TI

Learning Studio Computers

If you are using the Exploratorium Learning Studio's computers to add lessons to My Science Box, here's some notes on the various computers:

  1. The mac "Morrison" seems to work well (except the advanced editing options do not appear when using Mozilla).
  2. The PC "Angstrom" works great with Firefox.
  3. The mac "Abelson" works great with Fi

How do I add lessons of my own?

Adding lessons to My Science Box (in 7 easy steps):

  1. Make sure you are logged into your account then click the "create content" button on the left side of the page below your username.
  2. Select "book page".
  3. Enter a title for your page.
  4. The "Parent" pull down menu files your lesson in a hierarchical menu system. For instance, Irene's lessons are organized with a larger "box" with lessons inside. Each lesson is in turn broken down into subsections: an overview, logistics, background, lesson plan, etc. Initially, you will want to put your teaching box under the Drop Box. After that, you can file additional pages within your own section of the Drop Box.
  5. Use the "Categories" pull down menus to categorize your lessons so other teachers can find them.
  6. In the "Body" section, enter any text you wish or cut and paste from another application. The icons at the bottom of the window allow you to format your text just like a word processor. Mouse over them to learn what each icon allows you to do.
  7. When you are done, click "submit" and your lesson is LIVE ON THE WEB! Congratulations


Thank yous

This website was developed by Jason Salter, web developer extraordinaire. A billion thanks for all the hard work, creative ideas, and loving support in the creation of My Science Box.

This work was funded through a generous grant from the Rose Foundation. The concept of the "teaching box" was inspired by the Exploratorium's Teacher Institute and their amazing staff. A special thanks to Linda Shore, Eric Muller, Tory Brady, Modesto Tomez and Margaret Fauchier for their kind support and generous encouragement. The organization of the lessons at MyScienceBox was inspired by the Lawrence Hall of Science GEMS and FOSS guides. Their publications have been the role models for my curriculum. Because the GEMs guides layout and descriptions are so clear and helpful, I have modeled my lesson plans after their materials.

Lawrence Hall - Standards

Grade 6
Plate Tectonics and Earth's Structure

1. Plate tectonics accounts for important features of Earth's surface and major geologic events. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know evidence of plate tectonics is derived from the fit of the continents; the location of earthquakes, volcanoes, and midocean ridges; and the distribution of fossils, rock types, and ancient climatic zones.

Lawrence Hall - Going Further

Going Further
There are a large number of ways to reinforce these same concepts back in your classroom.

  • Use the Virtual Earthquake software in the Earthquake Fingerprints lesson.
  • Whose Fault is it Anyway? is a great kinesthetic way to model epicenter finding developed by Eric Muller from the Exploratorium Teachers’ Institute. Students hold hands and propagate a p and s wave through a human chain. The difference in arrival times can be used to figure out who started the earthquake.
  • Finally, the Center for Science Education at the University of California Space Sciences Laboratory has a fantastic compilation of hands-on inquiry activity for the classroom on earthquakes. In addition to the standard stuff on reading seismograms for location and magnitude information, this series of lessons covers everything from using earthquake data to infer things about