Friday, April 9, 2004

A New Sphere For Science Teachers

Science teachers now have a great new tool in Teachers' Domain, an online, multimedia resource for the classroom and professional development. Located at, this WGBH site allows teachers to present science concepts to students in high-impact, engaging, and interactive ways. When you first visit the site, click on Register now to take advantage of the benefits that the site has to offer.

Once you have registered, you will be able to access Teachers' Domain's classroom-ready resources, which are catalogued by grade level and correlated to national and state standards. First, you will need to select your subject area and grade level. On each subject menu page, you will find links to commonly taught topics, as well as changing highlights of classroom and professional development resources. For example, if you select Life Science for grades 9-12 as your subject and grade level, you will find topics such as The Cell, Ecology, Evolution, Genetics, etc. Each of these topics will have related lesson plans as well as subtopics for more specific research.

From the subject menu page you may select one of the topic areas for further exploration. On any given topic menu page you will find links to lists of resources organized by subtopic, plus a list of lesson plans on the main topic that incorporate those resources. For example, on the Genetics subject menu page, you will find subtopics such as Genetic Engineering, Human Genetics, Mendelian Genetics, etc. Lesson Plans cover Bioengineered Goods, DNA Fingerprints, Protein Synthesis, and More. In addition the links to these resources and lesson plans, each topic page features rotating highlights of resource materials that showcase specific tools for your chosen topic.

From the main topic page you may select one of the subtopics to get even more detailed information about a specific area of study. The subtopic page displays an extensive list of classroom resources for your chosen subtopic, including video and audio segments, interactive activities, images, and text documents. For the subtopic Human Genetics, you find videos on Alzheimer's Disease and the Common Genetic Code, interactives on family trees and DNA fingerprints, case studies, and more.

If you click on any of the resources listed on the subtopic page, you will get important information you need to supplement your classroom instruction. Firstly, you will see a background essay that explains the relevant facts and issues about the subtopic you've chosen. You will also find questions for discussion or writing assignments to help focus your classes understanding of the subject. You may click on links to watch video segments that demonstrate the subject visually. The Resource Page also indicates the national and state standards to which the resource has been correlated as well as offering detailed lesson plans developed by curriculum specialists and reviewed by scientific experts. Each lesson plan provides detailed step-by-step instructions for presenting a lesson that integrates several resources.

Every Resource page has a Save feature that allows you to save the information it contains to a special folder called My Resources where you can keep all of the information you want to use for class. Whenever you visit Teachers' Domain, you can access My Resources from the "Open a folder" pull-down menu at the top of your screen. You're My Resources page will show you all of the resource links that you have saved as you've browsed through the Teacher Domain site in the past, including video, interactive, audio, image, and text files.

If you want to organize the resources you've collected according to specific classes or lessons, you can create Custom Resource Folders. Do this by putting a check mark beside each of the resources you want to move to the new folder and then selecting a destination folder using the "Copy checked resources to" pull-down menu at the bottom of the screen. If you don't already have folders to put your resources in, you will have a chance to create and name one now. You may also annotate each resource in your custom resource folders.

The Teachers' Domain site has a great management feature that gives you the ability to grant viewing access to specific groups. For example, you could create a special custom resource folder with video clips relating to a lesson for your third period biology class an
Post Optionsd then grant viewing access to members of that class only. You manage access to your customer folders on the My Groups page, which assigns an ID number to each group to which you grant access. Detailed information on how to set up and manage folders and access is available through the extensive help functionality of the Teachers' Domain site.

If you are a teacher of Science in grade K-12 and really want to add new life to your classes each day, visit and register to take advantage of these free resources today!