Author Archives: DANIELLE PETERS

Using NetLogo for the States of Matter

Elementary Science

Topic: Chemistry – Gas

Misconception: Gases are not matter because most are invisible

Gas can be a difficult concept for children since those commonly experienced, like air, are invisible. Stavy (1988) suggests this invisibility prevents children from forming a concept of gas spontaneously. She explains that instruction is important for children to acquire knowledge about gas properties. Using a T-GEM Model and NetLogo, students will work through a variety of experiments to construct a solid understanding of the states of matter, specifically gas.


iPad Book Creator App – to document KWL (Know, Wonder, Learn) about Gas knowledge

Computer – to access NetLogo (Students will use NetLogo to simulate and visualize the molecules inside a bicycle tire as it is being pumped up with air). Lesson can be found here:

Using a T-GEM Model

Assess prior knowledge: Students will begin by using a Know, Wonder, Learn (KWL) model developed by Ogle (1986), where students will write down what they already know about matter – gas before the science unit begins (Collins, 2011). They will also write down any ‘wonders’ that they want to learn about matter. Students will share their chart with a partner to compare and contrast. Khan’s T-GEM model (2007) follows three steps: Generate, Evaluate, and Modify. Students will generate their own ideas by predicting results through hands-on experiments and the use of NetLogo to simulate the molecules inside a bicycle tire. The Evaluate portion occurs after students have tested their predictions. Students will reflect and evaluate experiments, inquiring into the why and how by documenting their learning through Book Creator app on the iPads. The last part of the model is Modify, where students will look back at their KWL chart and compare their original beliefs to what they’ve learned. This will help clear up any misconceptions students may have had surrounding matter. It also allows for the teacher to check-in and ensure students understand if their original ‘know’ included a misconception.


Collins, J. W. (01/01/2011). The greenwood dictionary of education: KWL chartGreenwood.

Khan, S. (2007). Model-based inquiries in chemistryScience Education, 91(6), 877-905

Stavy, R. (1988) Children’s conception of gas International Journal of Science Education 10 (5) 553 – 560

Making Connections

  • Speculate on how such networked communities could be embedded in the design of authentic learning experiences in a math or science classroom setting or at home. Elaborate with an illustrative example of an activity, taking care to consider the off-line activities as well.


I found this week’s readings to be informative and applicable, especially when viewed through the lens of an inner-city school. I am specifically interested in Exploratorium, a museum in San Francisco. Their intention is to diffuse knowledge through their exhibits through an on-line option, that provides an extension of what you would experience in the museum. I like the fact that students can experience the museum from home or school. One of the apps listed on their website is called ‘Science Journal’. This app simulates a laboratory, which supports students as they document their observations through an experiment, however it is only available for android phones. Students can gather data, measure light, sound, and acceleration. The Exploratorium created companion activities for the app.

The Exploratorium websites shares that for “most students, science is still defined by textbook chapter assignments on Monday and vocabulary quizzes on Friday. Regrettably, students experience science in an interactive way in perhaps less than 10 percent of science classrooms. The Exploratorium is working to change that” (Exploratorium). In the design of an authentic learning experience in a science classroom, Exploratorium could be used to support inquiry. The website hosts many experiments, multimedia videos, and resources for students. “Inquiry is central to science learning. When engaging in inquiry, students describe objects and events, ask questions, construct explanations, test those explanations against current scientific knowledge, and communicate their ideas to others” (National Research Council, 1996, p. 2). In a school where field trip funds are minimal, teachers could use this website to support inquiry by creating an environment that supports construction of knowledge through hands-on experiments and activities. “Museums provide ideal environments for learning and practicing inquiry skills. While playing with exhibits, students on field trips can try various experiments, make observations, and have memorable experiences” Gutwill, J. P., & Allen, S. (2011). This can be mirrored in the classroom by giving students opportunities to experiment, document their observations, and provide stations for rotation with social interaction. “The role of the authority figure has two important components. The first is to introduce new ideas or cultural tools where necessary and to provide the support and guidance for students to make sense of these for themselves” (Driver et al., 1994).  Technology can be incorporated to access the appropriate apps, and then share their learning through ePortfolios. I believe that there is significant value in authentic field trips that provide students with new opportunities to make connections, build communication competencies, and experience new learning environments with resources (Gutwill & Allen, 2012). However, if classes are unable to attend more than one or two per school year because of lack of funds, I think virtual field trips are a great alternative. Spicer & Stratford (2001) support this statement and explain that virtual field trips should not replace authentic fieldtrips. What Exploritorium can do is provide scaffolding prior to a field trip, which could be an example of LfU, supporting motivation, knowledge construction, and refinement for both pre and post trip.


Driver, R., Asoko, H., Leach, J., Mortimer, E., & Scott, P. (1994). Constructing scientific knowledge in the classroom. Reconsidering Science Learning,23(7), 5-12. doi:10.4324/9780203464021_chapter_2.2

Gutwill, J. P., and S. Allen. 2012. Deepening students’ scientific inquiry skills during a science museum field trip. The Journal of the Learning Sciences 21 (1): 130–181.

Spicer, J., & Stratford, J. (2001). Student perceptions of a virtual field trip to replace a real field trip. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 17, 345-354.






Embodied Learning with Osmo

Embodied learning involves the whole body when learning and constructing knowledge. Embodiment means that states of the body, such as arm movements, arise during social interaction and play central roles in social information processing (Barsalou, 2003). Numerous studies have shown that body movements and embodied learning can have substantive positive effects on children’s cognition, learning, and academic achievement (Chandler & Tricot, 2015). Anderson (2003) explains that Embodied Cognition is learning that results from interactions with our environment. In primary grades, students count with their fingers, use number blocks, and manipulativew, to develop basic number sense.

As I was reading the articles, I continued to connect this to STEM activities in the classroom. In a lot of STEM challenges, students are building, tinkering, and making, using their hands. We often interact with nature for science, whether it be nature walks, documenting ideas in our science journals or on the iPad, or doing experiments. From my experience, I have found that students retain more information and can share evidence of their learning when it is connected to a hands-on, interactive project or lesson.

I also connected these articles to Osmo game sets for the iPads. I recently adopted this in my classroom for math rotations. I think that incorporating Osmo into a math program is an example of a learning activity that incorporates motion activity and digital technologies. Osmo is a gaming accessory for the iPad. It includes a base, reflective mirror, and tangible pieces. It creates a hands-on learning experience paired with technology. The learner interacts with the pieces and the iPad, an example of motion activity and embodied learning. Osmo is intended for children aged 6-12. Students love using it because of its game-based learning style. “Researchers agree that the use of manipulatives in mathematics increases mathematics achievement and plays a large part in student learning, understanding, and conceptualization of simple to complex concepts” (Boggan, Harper, & Whitmire, 2010).

Questions I am left with…

Is embodied learning as effective for students who can’t control their body?

How can we provide more embodiment during math instruction, not just in activities?


Barsalou, L. W. (2003). The psychology of learning and motivation: Psychology of learning and motivation volume 43 social embodiment.43C, 43. doi:10.1016/S0079-7421(03)01011-9

Boggan, M., Harper, S., & Whitmire, A. (2010). Using manipulatives to teach elementary Mathematics. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies. Retrieved from

Chandler, P., Paul Chandler, & André Tricot. (09/01/2015). Educational psychology review: Mind your body: The essential role of body movements in children’s learning Springer. doi:10.1007/s10648-015-9333-3


Scratch – Math: x y axis

In my experience teaching Math to grade 6 and 7 students, I have found that incorporating Scratch ( has helped solidify most students understanding of x y axis and coordinates. If you’ve never used Scratch before, it’s a free, on-line programming software that allows you to program and code animations and games. Scratch uses a coordinate system, which determines where you place sprites and which directions you want them to move. Each sprite has two values to locate its reference point. The students I have worked with quickly pick up how the x-y axis works. As an educator, you can set up student accounts to see their work and help share it on their digital portfolios. It’s also a way for students to share evidence of their learning in math. This is a youtube video to show you the basics:

Scratch Ed ( is a site dedicated to educators. You can exchange resources, share ideas, and ask questions.

TELE Synthesis: Moving forwards

Compare and contrast learning goals and theory of T-GEM and Chemland with:

Anchored Instruction and Jasper:

What I liked about Anchored Instruction is that it was “designed to overcome the problem of developing ‘inert knowledge’ – knowledge learned in school that cannot be retrieved when it is needed for another situation” (Zydney, Bathke & Hasselbring, 2014). I found Jasper to be outdated and not as relevant to today’s learners. With a facelift I think it could be beneficial to support problem solving and development of critical thinking skills and collaboration. Comparing T-GEM and Anchored Instruction, we can see theme of constructivism, providing authentic, deep learning, hands-on experiences. This is one of my favorite teaching approaches, as it helps students make connections outside of the classroom, and allows them to explore concepts, take risks, and develop problem-solving strategies (Hickey, D., Moore, A., & Pellegrin, J, (2001). I think that the Jasper project has the potential to support today’s learners.


The SKI framework promotes knowledge integration by making thinking visible for students, making science accessible for students, and encouraging students to take ownership over their learning by inquiring about scientific concepts (Linn, Clark, and Slotta, 2003). T-GEM also promotes knowledge integration through its three steps: generate, evaluating, and modifying. Both WISE and T-GEM build on previous knowledge and scaffold the learner, accessing students background knowledge (Linn, Clark, and Slotta, 2002). Comparing WISE and T-GEM, we can see the benefit for teachers as students learning is made visible which supports formative assessment. Looking at the differences, SKI focuses on clearing up misconceptions, which is especially important for younger learners in the science field. SKI focuses on differentiated learning whereas T-GEM does not.

LfU and MyWorld:

Learning-for-Use model using MyWorld are more examples of students constructing their own knowledge through hands-on learning. These are examples of meaningful learning that are relatable outside of the classroom. Similarly to T-GEM it motivates learning by introducing and teaching learners how to observe and explore through direct experience, communicate and describe processes, and apply new knowledge through hands-on activities (Edelson, 2001). The goal of LfU is to incorporate real-world problems into learning activities so that the concepts are meaningful and students are able to connect what they have learned when it is relevant (Edelson, 2001). Differences between LfU and T-GEM is the use of technology, which is necessary for T-GEM. LfU is also situated learning.


What I’ve learned through researching and exploring the technology-enhanced learning environments is that these approaches are effective ways of brining meaning to a big idea or curricular content. Cross-curricular, paired with technology, provides deep-learning where students are able to take risks, receive formative feedback and test their understandings. I have plans to use many of these methods next year with my class, especially My World and Jasper style problem solving experiences. When it comes to selecting technology for my classroom and learners, my students are at the center of my decision-making. All of the methods we looked at are based on constructivism, paired with collaboration, eliciting curiosity and student-centered inquiry. These methods provide opportunities for students to learn from each other in a project-based learning setting. All of the methods focus on inquiry, collaboration, and student-centered learning, which is the underlying theme in the new BC Curriculum (BC Ministry of Education, 2015).

Moving forward this summer, my plan is to design my new classroom to be a technology enhanced learning environment that provides space for collaboration, inquiry, and problem-based learning. I think I will be pulling from each of the methods presented as I find value for my students in all of the approaches. What I like about these approaches is the inclusion of reflection and helping make students learning visible, which supports student self-assessment.


Edelson, D.C. (2001). Learning-for-use: A framework for the design of technology-supported inquiry activities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,38(3), 355-385.

Linn, M., Clark, D., & Slotta, J. (2002). Wise design for knowledge integration. Science Education, 87(4), 517-538.

Zydney, Bathke & Hasselbring (2014) Finding the optimal guidance for enhancing anchored instruction, Interactive Learning Environments, 22:5, 668-683, DOI: 10.1080/10494820.2012.745436

Struggling through unseen forces of motion

In grade 2, a challenging concept for students is ‘forces influence the motion of an object’. This is a Big Idea in BC’s new curriculum for grade 2 (BC Ministry of Education, 2015). Through observations, experiments, and evidence of student learning, it is clear that many students struggle with the concept of force and motion because they hold faulty beliefs derived from living in a world where unseen frictional forces operate (White, 1983). For example, in a grade 2 unit we learned about ‘push and pull’, specifically how force always occurs in pairs, Newton’s third law. After many lessons, videos, and examples, one student came to me and said, “If I push a door open, it’s pushing me with the same force? How can a door push me?”

A digital technology that can work to improve this concept is STEAM, an app that teaches the basics of force and motion. The app uses simulation to help students investigate force and how it affects motion. Students can use the simulation to work through the main concepts with 4 different interactive lessons. I would like to use this next year with my grade 2’s in partnerships. (

In my design of a 3-step T-GEM cycle for this concept, I wanted to include student observations and investigations on force and motion, as well as iPad use with the STEAM app for digital experiments.


I would have students use a KWL chart (Know, Wonder, Learn) to fill out what they already know, or think they know about force and motion. Then I would have them compare in small groups. This will be used as an assessment tool for me as well to see what their pre-existing beliefs are, as well as to see the growth in their learning at the end of the unit. As a class we will watch the introduction Brain Pop Jr videos to force and motion. Students will share what they think the relationship is between force and motion. In partnerships, students will predict, compare, and explain different examples of force in a hands-on activity.

Video from BrainPopJr.


Students will test their predictions in a hands-on activity. Students will use the STEAM app to investigate force and motion. Students will compare their predictions and observations after both hands-on experiments and virtual experiments. Students will come up with “I wonder” questions to help further guide their inquiry. As a class, we will work through a number of picture books to reinforce the concept of force and motion, as well as incorporate different visual videos. Computer simulations enhance concepts and allow students and teachers the opportunity to view visual representation  in more concrete ways which may lead to more accurate conceptual understandings (Khan, 2011).

Students will take pictures of their experiments to later document in Book Creator.


Students will use Book Creator app on the iPads to reflect on their observations, taking into consideration their original predictions. Students will share their books with the rest of the class. As a full class we will discuss their observations, ideas, and further questions. Structured inquiries will occur to help guide and prevent any misconceptions surrounding the concept of force and motion to answer any “wonder” questions that were not answered.


Khan, S. (2007). Model-based inquiries in chemistryScience Education, 91(6), 877-905

Khan, S. (2010). New pedagogies for teaching with computer simulationsJournal of Science Education and Technology, 20(3), 215-232.

White, B. Y. (1983). Sources of difficulty in understanding Newtonian dynamics. Cognitive Science, 7(1), 41-65. Doi: 10.1016/S0364-0213(83)80017-2

LFU to elicit curiosity in Elementary classrooms

While looking at the Learning-for-Use framework, I can see the connections to BC’s new curriculum and the big idea that weaves through the science curricular competencies: demonstrate curiosity about the natural world (BC Ministry of Education, 2015). Within the three steps of the Learning-for-Use model, I noticed the process of eliciting curiosity through activities (Edelson, 2000). I think it’s important for teachers to create a learning environment that supports questioning and curiosity. As I’ve mentioned before, in my class we have a ‘Wonder’ wall, where students add questions on post-it notes as we work through a big idea. It’s a visual reminder for students that all questions are important.

Luce and Hsi (2004) measured students interests in topics of science. “In line with current research on interest, we view curiosity as context relevant, but also learner driven. The learner can express curiosity as fleeting observations of wonderment and noticing inconsistencies or finding novelty in an object or through activity. For our purposes, we refer to curiosity in the context of scientific practices, i.e., wonderment or intrigue about the kinds of investigation and explanations that science seeks. Examples include activities such as engaging in scientific-like wonderment, question asking, experimentation, tinkering, pursuing an idea or following up on an inconsistency in knowledge, and ways of making meaning in scientific pursuits” (Luce and Hsi, 2004). Technology can be integrated to support inquiry and activities within the science curriculum to provide deeper learning opportunities.

After exploring My World GIS, I can see the impact it would have on middle school students. This software provides a rich experience for students as they are able to manipulate maps, customize, and investigate data, rather than simply read data from a textbook. It brings the curricular content to life. In our science unit this year, we used Google Earth Tours to learn about glaciers and how wind, water, and ice change the shape of the land. Students were amazed to see how they could manipulate the information and it sparked curiosity as students made their own observations. The next time I teach this unit, I will use Google Story Maps and include a 3D tour for scaffolding. What I appreciate about this software is that it motivates learning by introducing and teaching learners how to observe and explore through direct experience, communicate and describe processes, and apply new knowledge through hands-on activities (Edelson, 2000). I would combine both My World and Google Earth to explore land changes, and help provide hands-on inquiry opportunities for learners. Google Earth can be accessed at home, further supporting independent inquiry and encouraging students to take ownership over their learning.

How I would teach a grade 3 science unit using the LFU framework:

Big Idea: Wind, water, and ice change the shape of the land.

Sample questions to support inquiry with students:

  • How is the shape of the land changed by environmental factors?
  • What are landforms?
  • What landforms do you have in your local area?


“The motivation to acquire special skills or knowledge within a setting in which the student is already reasonably engaged” (Edelson, 2001).

I would use Google Earth and Google Story Maps to elicit curiosity. I would have students question and predict in small groups, and then create their own map and share with peers. (Ex. Groups could look at different landforms on Google Earth).


The second step in the learning process is the development of new knowledge (Edelson, 2001). I would use activities that provide students with direct experience. For example, YouTube clips, Brain Pop Jr videos, and Flocabulary rap songs. Students would work through structured inquiry to find answers to questions, and independent inquires on areas they would like to investigate further. 

The third step involves reorganizing knowledge, connecting it to knowledge, and reinforcing it to support its future retrieval and use (Edelson, 2001).

I would provide opportunities for students to apply what they learned in a meaningful way, and have students reflect on what they’ve learned, and how it connects to the world around them. Students could use iMovie to create a story or create a coding quest through Scratch to share their learning (also a great example of STEM:


Edelson, D.C. (2001). Learning-for-use: A framework for the design of technology-supported inquiry activities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,38(3), 355-385.

Luce, M. R., & Hsi, S. (2015). Science‐Relevant curiosity expression and interest in science: An exploratory study. Science Education, 99(1), 70-97. doi:10.1002/sce.21144

Further Inquiry into Plants and Photosynthesis through WISE

As I was exploring the WISE projects, I noticed that grade levels 3-5 were listed, however there were no projects available. I was hoping to see how WISE was used in these grades. I did however find a project that looks at a learning intention in the BC grade 2 science curriculum on life cycles (BC Ministry of Education, 2015). I chose to customize a Photosynthesis project (ID: 20937) to meet my learners needs and support them as they develop curricular competencies such as ‘make simple predictions’, ‘make and record observations’ and ‘transfer and apply learning to new situations’ (BC Ministry of Education, 2015). The reason I like this project is because it asks an inquiry question that can connect to our class’s project of planting seeds and observing plants grow. The driving question is, “How can a student grow the most energy-rich plants for her rabbit?” Using the WISE project to connect our knowledge from a lifecycle unit, will help drive the inquiry process when learning about photosynthesis. Connecting this to our reading, inquiries or investigations can be free-ranging explorations of unexplained phenomena, as the three trees example, or highly structured and guided by the teacher (Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards, 2008).

I customized this lesson to include a KWL model, which in our class is known as ‘know, wonder, learn’. “Many teachers use Know-Want-Learn (KWL) charts and variations of them when teaching science to access students’ prior knowledge on a particular topic and help students organize what they are learning during a science lesson or unit” (Hershberger, Zembal-Saul, and Starr, 2006). Immediately after the inquiry question, I customized it to include a KWL page where students can write down what they already know about plants and photosynthesis, and what they wonder or hope to learn through this unit. The L of the model will be at the end of the WISE Project for students to then reflect on what they’ve learned. The SKI framework promotes knowledge integration by making thinking visible for students, making science accessible for students, and encouraging students to take ownership over their learning by inquiring about scientific concepts (Linn, Clark, and Slotta, 2003). The KWL model makes student thinking visible by giving them a place to refer back to see how much they’ve learned. Students are always amazed when they compare how little they wrote in the ‘know’ section compared to how much they filled up in the ‘learn’ section at the conclusion. I also find that this supports students because they can refer back to what they wondered, and if they have not found the answer to their question, they often use personal inquiry time to take ownership and find out for themselves.

This project is customized to be shorter in length, as primary students need hands-on activities paired with the WISE project to fully support their learning. As students answer the questionnaire’s, I can retrieve the answers and group students according to their knowledge, using these tools as a formative assessment. I like that the classroom teacher is able to see how the students answer questions, and yet as the student progresses, they are corrected if their prediction is incorrect. This provides immediate support for students while clearing up any misconceptions. Within this WISE project I would use media such as Brain Pop Jr. to scaffold learners with visuals and video clips. I would also display a ‘Wonder Wall’ in the classroom for students to add ideas, connections, and new knowledge to make learning visible to the class. As this project is geared for intermediate grades, explicit details would need to be added and more interactive activities would need to take place within, to support primary learners.



British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2017). B.C.’s New Curriculum. Retrieved from:

Hershberger, K., Zembal-Saul, C., & Starr, M. L. (2006). Evidence helps the KWL get a KLEW. Science and Children, 43(5), 50-53. Retrieved from

Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: a guide for teaching and learning. (2008). Washington: National Academy Press. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from:

Linn, M. C., Clark, D., & Slotta, J. D. (2003). WISE design for knowledge integration. Science Education, 87(4), 517-538. Doi:10.1002/sce.10086

Anchored Instruction through Collaboration

The perceived issue the Jasper materials are responding to is a lack of engagement and mathematical understanding for learners when it comes to mathematical concepts. The purpose of the videos is to create learning opportunities that are anchored in meaningful and engaging technology contexts, using anchored instruction. Anchored instruction was “designed to overcome the problem of developing ‘inert knowledge’ – knowledge learned in school that cannot be retrieved when it is needed for another situation” (Zydney, Bathke & Hasselbring, 2014). The Jasper Project uses technology to motivate students to problem-solve as a team and solve relevant chronological problems within a story-line. The program motivates students to help them learn to think and reason about complex problems (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992). Using a constructivist approach, students are encouraged to construct their own understanding of mathematical concepts, while developing problem solving and critical thinking skills. I think this is a relevant problem in today’s classrooms, because students often don’t see or make the connection between curricular competencies and real-life scenarios. When students can make connections, it provides deeper learning opportunities for students to explore concepts, take risks, and test a variety of problem-solving strategies (Hickey, D., Moore, A., & Pellegrin, J, (2001). In my experience, students who are English Language Learners (ELL) struggle with math concepts that are solely print-based problem-solving activities. These videos provide opportunities for students to build upon concepts and work in a team, developing communication skills.

In one study, students who used the Jasper materials showed slightly larger gains on assessments (Hickey, D., Moore, A. & Pellegrin, J, (2001). With the advancements made in technology, updated versions of the Jasper Project could be extremely beneficial. Using current topics of interest for elementary learners, paired with apps accessed on iPads, could create deeper learning experiences. Students would have access to the video series, and could possibly share ideas and debate with other classes through Skype, similar to a Mystery Skype ( Taking this a step further, apps could offer virtual reality opportunities for students to be completely immersed in the problem their team faces, creating an active, rather than passive learning environment.

The contemporary videos that are available for math instruction from Khan Academy address the issue, but fall short because they lack the group collaborative effort provided by the Jasper Project. “The model presented by the Khan Academy proposes a flipped classroom where students take responsibility for the acquisition of key concepts at home and then in class essentially complete extension tasks and gauge understanding” (Lenihan, E., 2013). In inner-city classrooms, students are not able to work through concepts at home because of the lack of technology. The Jasper materials utilize classroom activities and time.


Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992b). The Jasper series as an example of anchored instruction: Theory, program, description, and assessment data. Educational Psychologist, 27(3), 291-315.

Hickey, D. T., Moore, A. L. & Pellegrin, J.W. (2001). The motivational and academic consequences of elementary mathematics environments: Do constructivist innovations and reforms make a difference? American Educational Research Journal, 38(3), 611-652

Janet Mannheimer Zydney, Arne Bathke & Ted S. Hasselbring (2014) Finding the optimal guidance for enhancing anchored instruction, Interactive Learning Environments, 22:5, 668-683, DOI: 10.1080/10494820.2012.745436

Lenihan, E. (2013). A theatre for action: Adopting the khan academy in support of a classroom model in the MYP. The International Schools Journal, 32(2), 66.


Coding support for teachers

Shulman (1986) described how testing teacher knowledge and competence in subject matter is not a new idea or practice. Historically, teachers were tested on skills in literacy and numeracy, losing points for different errors. Tests were focused on content and subject matter to be taught. However, today’s teachers are assessed on their “capacity to teach,” focusing on, “organization in preparing and presenting instructional plans, evaluation, recognition of individual differences, cultural awareness, and understanding youth” (Shulman, 1986). Shulman’s view encompasses what British Columbia’s Ministry of Education introduced with the redesigned curriculum model. The “Know-Do-Understand” model contains three elements, “the Content (Know), Curricular Competencies (Do), and Big Idea (Understand) all work together to support deeper learning” (BC Ministry of Education, 2015). Shulman’s view on the role of the teacher demonstrated that there was a greater need than competence in subject matter and knowledge from the teacher, but rather providing a learning environment where students take ownership over their learning. “Teaching necessarily begins with a teacher’s understanding of what is to be learned and how it is to be taught. It proceeds through a series of activities during which the students are provided specific instruction and opportunities for learning, though the learning itself ultimately remains the responsibility of the student” (Shulman, 1987).

PCK includes a fusion of knowledge about pedagogy, content, and pedagogical knowledge, with the addition of specialized knowledge. TPACK extends further by including a specialized knowledge of technology, and how it can provide opportunities for deeper learning and enhanced learning communities. Mishra and Koehler (2006) discuss that one of the problems surrounding technology integration is the lack of support for teachers. “Part of the problem, we argue, has been a tendency to only look at the technology and not how it is used. Merely introducing technology to the educational process is not enough” (Mishra & Koehler, 2006).

As a district coding teacher, I spend one day a week visiting different classrooms to support teachers with the new Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies curriculum, specifically on how to implement coding. Many teachers are hesitant to teach coding because the concept is new to them, and they feel they lack the pedagogical knowledge. Facilitating unplugged activities that teach the fundamentals of computer science, such as algorithms, helps provide scaffolding to learners and teachers. This program set up by the district provides support for teachers, providing them a teacher with specialized knowledge and resources to teach coding, aligned with the new ADST curriculum. Activities and content include introduction to basic programming and algorithms. Students work through unplugged activities to begin building computational thinking skills. I also spend time with teachers after the workshop to demonstrate how I am using coding cross-curricular to demonstrate deep thinking about learning specific concepts or skills that transfer to science. In my classroom, as we worked through our understanding of algorithms, we related it to our life cycle unit in science. We looked at how we use algorithms in our daily lives. After we planted our seeds, students worked in pairs to write out an algorithm for planting a seed. Providing rich learning environments that are cross-curricular help students develop computational thinking. Providing students with these building blocks set them up for success when they begin coding in Scratch. Students are connecting how coding relates to math and language arts, and how they are developing their core competencies through their learning journey.


BC Ministry of Education, Introduction to British Columbia’s Redesigned Curriculum, 2015.

Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4 -14.

Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching. The foundations of a new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1)1-23.