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Action Science


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments About the Author 1. What Is Action Science? 2. Constructivism and the Classroom Teacher 3. Making Science Relevant in the Middle Grades 4. Linking Pedagogy and Science Content in Practice 5. Using the 5 Es in Action Science 6. Unlocking Resources for Active Learning 7. Action Science and the Future 8. Action Science Classroom Activities Activity 1: Flatland BMX and the Center of Gravity Activity 2: Thrust and Drag on a Cushion of Air Activity 3: Finding a Point of Reference Activity 4: Acceleration Is Velocity in Motion Activity 5: Force Makes a Mass Move Activity 6: Action Reaction Activity 7: Skateboards Have Levers and Fulcrums Activity 8: Around the World With Wheels and Axles Index

About the Author

Dr. William H. Robertson is an Associate Professor in the Teacher Education Department in the College of Education at the University of Texas, El Paso. His academic areas of expertise are in science education, curriculum development and technology integration in the K-12 levels. Additionally, he develops, researches and teaches materials related to problem-based learning and action science. Dr. Robertson was a recipient of the 2009 University of Texas Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award for Tenure-Track Faculty and in 2008, Dr. Robertson was selected as a Fulbright US Scholar and worked in Santiago, Chile at the Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencia de la Educacion (UMCE) in the department of Physics. Previous to coming to UTEP, Dr. Robertson was an employee at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Dr. Robertson completed his Ph.D. in Multicultural Teacher and Childhood Education with an emphasis in science and technology at the University of New Mexico in 2000. He has also obtained a Master's degree Science Education from the University of Colorado - Boulder, a BA degree in Spanish from UTEP, a BS in Biology from Northern Arizona, a BA degree in History from Duke University. A long time participant and performer in skateboarding with over 35 years in the sport, Dr. Robertson has developed Dr. Skateboard's Action Science (http://www.drskateboard.com), which addresses physical science concepts for middle school students utilizing skateboarding and bicycle motocross (BMX).


"In Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning, the author does a superb job of showing how to make learning relevant for today's typical middle school student through the application of real world connections that are meaningful to the student. The examples and resources provided make this an outstanding resource for any middle school science teacher looking for ways to engage unmotivated students or who are implementing problem based learning strategies in a way that is exciting and meaningful!" -- Melissa Miller, Middle School Science Teacher
"The book is unique, in that it offers a look at physics through a non-traditional lens - through the world of skateboarding and bmx bike riding. I especially like the use of the 5E learning cycle within the lesson presentation." -- Susanne L Hokkanen, 7th Grade Science Teacher
"Rarely are students envisioned as scientists, mathematicians, or engineers-especially while at play. However, much of the fundamental knowledge associated with these fields can be linked to student experiences in action sports such as skateboarding. This linkage holds untapped potential that can prove useful in increasing student understanding of Next Generation Science Standards. Well aware of this linkage, Dr. William H. Robertson promotes learning of physical and mathematical principles through an innovative medium that students can absolutely relate to: Action Science. Through live action sports demonstrations, action sports video clips, and unique classroom learning activities, Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning will have students genuinely captivated. Students will be able to increase their physical and mathematical understandings through relation to a real life context via personal experiences on their own skateboard, bicycle, rollerblades, or scooter.

Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning promotes educational methods students are sure to relate to and learn from. It will prove a valuable tool for educators seeking to increase student engagement and further student understanding of important physical and mathematical principles."
-- Dr. S. Christian Benker, Assistant Professor of Geoscience
"Bill Robertson and I go back many years. Throughout all of those years, I have always been impressed with the way he approaches science education: Instead of providing content in the abstract, or in unrelatable tables and graphs, he speaks in the vernacular of the students. By combining the topics that kids can relate to, specifically skateboarding and BMX biking, the difficult becomes understandable, the abstract concrete! Not many academicians "practice what they preach," but that is exactly what Bill does with Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning. The thousands and thousands of students that he has entertained over the years with his Ollies, Backside 180s, and Heel Flips have no idea that the guy in the jeans and sport helmet, knee pads, and wrist guards is Bill Robertson, Ph.D. They only know that by the time he leaves the room, they have a better understanding of Newtonian Physics because Dr. Skateboard was in the house. I cannot recommend Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning more highly. Like everything he does, Bill Robertson has made physics relatable, informative, and most importantly, fun." -- Tim Holt, Director, Instructional Technology
"As a working scientist, I know that scientific knowledge is constructed by experimenting and interacting with the world. Concepts can then be built up from that direct experience. Too often in science education this is forgotten and concepts are presented first at the expense of the initial direct experience that drives scientific curiosity. That's not true to science and does not lead to real knowledge. Bill Robertson (Dr. Skateboard) is staying true to science and to building deep, long lasting knowledge. Another way of saying that is that Bill is keeping science education real. Add the action element to the mix and what you get is just plain rad from any angle you look at it." -- Adrian Lenardic, Professor of Geophysics and Planetary Science

"Robertson (aka Dr. Skateboard) blends the fun of skateboarding and BMX with relevant physical science concepts. His unique approach is my preferred method of teaching. This is exactly what my students are looking for!"

-- Ashlie B. Smith, 8th Grade Physical Science Teacher

"The book is unique in that it offers a look at physics through a non-traditional lens - through the world of skateboarding and BMX bike riding. I especially like the use of the 5E learning cycle within the lesson presentation."

-- Susanne L Hokkanen, 7th grade science teacher

"Audiences of all ages, genders, and ethnicities naturally gravitate to Bill's passion for learning and teaching with his use of Action Science. Students who are naturally active and inquisitive are immediately engaged in Bill's high-energy and skilled BMX biking and skateboarding presentations. Bill utilizes his dynamic skills and the engagement of his learners to enable the students to understand challenging scientific principles. Bill facilitates students' comprehension of scientific concepts by demonstrating them in a relevant, meaningful, and stimulating way."

-- Jon Patry, Middle School Teacher

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