The pH Factor
Review by James F. Davis.
Reprinted from the EdRes mailing list.
The web site, The pH Factor, is produced and affiliated with the Miami Museum of Science. The site is an educational resource directed at elementary and middle school teachers. The site won the "site of the month" award, awarded by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse.All aspects of the site can be accessed directly from the main page. The site uses "the Seven E's approach" as its teaching method. The seven "E's" being, excite, explore, explain, expand, exchange, and examine (all seven "E's" have their own web page). The other page linked from the main page is a Teacher's Guide, which offers some suggestions for classroom use of the web site and the rationale behind the choice of "the Seven E's" approach. The main page also includes a direct link to the Miami Museum of Science web page. The site contains multiple lesson plans and activities with lists of required materials, and alternative approaches to lessons, materials, and classroom management. In each of the site's subpages, there are multiple labs, lesson plans, and classroom management approaches and ideas. The web site also gives the viewer the opportunity to make comments via e-mail and the opportunity to contribute one's own ideas, on the "Exchange" page.
Directed towards elementary and middle school teachers, The pH Factor, is a good resource for "alternatives" to the standard curriculum - alternative approaches (ie. multiple lab activities), alternative use of materials (ie. gumdrops for molecule displays) and assessment tools (ie. performance-based, portfolio, or journal-based). Moreover, if for some reason, one was unable to carry out any of the activities in the classroom setting, the activities can be attempted interactively on the web site itself.The site also offers well prepared lesson plans and activities (found on each of the seven "E's" web pages). Included in all the activities are ideas for organization of the classroom itself, and for student responsibilities in the class. The site strives to expand and apply all the topics discussed and to connect ideas and other subject matter (ie. "powers of ten" and pH). Although an explanation of "the Seven E's" teaching method can be found in the "Teacher's Guide" page, this explanation could be better developed. Unless one understands what the ideas behind this particular teaching method are, navigating the site can be a little confusing. The Miami Museum of Science has created a web site that could possibly work as an entire unit of study in a science classroom. The variety of activities and assessment tools allow the unit to be done in many different ways along different timelines.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - APRIL 25, 1997.
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