An Early Instructional Strategy (2012-2014)

Exploring Ideas in Science through PBS Science and Nature Programming
An Interactive Blog and Learning Environment
Randy Sweeney, Science Educator

This blog is designed to help structure a person’s exploration of developing issues in science through viewing Public Broadcast System (PBS) science and nature programming. The goal of this blog is to inspire students to think seriously about science and to facilitate interactions among laypersons and scientists. By contributing your own thoughts and commenting on other’s thoughts about issues raised in these online video programs, all participants will enhance their awareness of developing issues in science. PBS has made NOVA, Nature, and many other science and nature programs available online to the public through their web site (

Instructions on how to view these programs within our informal “instructional” format is outlined below.  PBS has a large variety of science programs available online, but this blog will focus on a few of these at a time, and assist with our interactions about what you WONDER when you view a program. In one of our instructional formats, the PBS program will be the topic for blogging and discussion for a period of 2 weeks. During the 1st week, participants should view the online video and note what the program has cause them to WONDER, elaborating on the thought questions provided in the introduction to the program. By the 2nd week, participants should have posted their comments (thoughts/notes) into the blog and commented on the posts of other participants.

The Next Generation Science Standards are very interesting and very detailed, and worth a careful examination by all who wish to help our youth get a good handle on science and the role it will play in future societal activities.  I feel that the videos that are linked to in this blog will serve these standards very well.  Anyone trying to sort out, and think through, these new standards must have a base of experience with nature in order to fully take advantage of these new goals for growth of our youth.  The Children & Nature Network, for example, tries to get youth to venture outside and into natural settings, and these goals will serve the new standards very well.  But there is  so much of nature that is beyond to capability of kids to personally experience there must be other means to gather information that can be used to construct meaningful relationships with science and an individual’s personal future.  I believe that this blog provides an excellent environment for endeavor.

This blog will also contain an “Ask an Expert” section where questions that participants have that remain unresolved in the PBS program can be asked of experts in the field.

The blog is structured as a place where participants can interact with one another, with Randy Sweeney (the Science Educator and owner of the blog), and with our experts. By the conclusion of the 2 week cycle participants will be encouraged to post a reflective piece that tells how this blog has influenced their awareness of important current topics and issues in science and increased their general wisdom as to how our earth and it’s systems operate.