Using the Learning Cycle to Teach Physical Science: A Hands-On Approach for the Middle Grades / Edition 1

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Beisenherz and Dantonio propose a very different approach to teaching science-one that not only makes science more exciting to learn, but also helps students construct and apply basic concepts and develop thinking skills. Students come to appreciate science for what it really is: a process of inquiry, not just a body of knowledge.

Using a learning cycle strategy, the book enables students to construct discrete science concepts on their own. This occurs in three phases: an exploration phase, in which students are exposed to hands on activities and other experiences related to a particular concept; an introduction phase, in which the concept is formally introduced; and an application phase, in which the concept is reinforced and expanded through additional experiences. All phases of the learning cycle use teacher questions to guide the learning experience.

Beisenherz and Dantonio begin by discussing important questions to consider when presenting new concepts, then they introduce six basic physical science concepts with activities. The activities identify a problem's focus, list the materials needed, suggest procedures, highlight key questions to prompt the appropriate thinking processes, and include important background information. By the final section of the book, you are ready to develop your own learning cycle sequence.

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Editorial Reviews

An introduction to the learning cycle strategy is followed by six basic physical science concepts (such as Bernoulli's Principle, circuits, and density) with activities. The final section provides guidance for developing new learning cycle sequences. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780435083762
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 3/18/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 146
  • Age range: 11 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Beisenherz is a professor at the University of New Orleans, where he is responsible for both preservice and inservice science teacher education. He has written extensively on using hands-on activities to teach science and conducts workshops for science teachers throughout the United States.

Marylou Dantonio, a professor at the University of New Orleans, teaches courses in instructional strategies, teacher education, and teaching leadership. She is nationally known for her work in questioning and collegial coaching and has published widely in both fields. Dr. Dantonio has served as a consultant for Phi Delta Kappa's Center for Professional Development.

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Table of Contents

The Learning Cycle Strategy

Why Teach Science?

What Is a Learning Cycle Strategy?

Effective Questioning

Six Learning Cycles

Bernoulli's Principle

Acids and Bases

Properties of Gases-Carbon Dioxide

Expansion and Contraction of Gases



Applying the Learning Cycle Strategy to a New Topic

Surface Tension Appendix: Additional Resources for Science Teachers

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