TPACK Science.jpg


Science is more than the gaining of knowledge. It is the systematic and organized inquiry into the natural world and its phenomena. Science is about gaining a deeper and often useful understanding of the world.

Perhaps the most general description is that the purpose of science is to produce useful models of reality. We use observation of natural phenomena and controlled experiments that simulate natural processes to justify science and its theories. There are many and many different possible fields of study within science such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Earth science. Each one of the fields consists of a large number of fields of study. For example: Biology consists of the study of Anatomy, Genetics, Microbiology and many more fields. Earth Science consist of Astronomy, Oceanography, Meteorology and Geology. Many of the fields also work together like Astrobiology, which is a field consisting of Astronomers that study the possibilities of biological life outside the Earth.

Science TPACK

Science includes a wealth of information to be taught. There are many times when teachers do not have adequate supplies for students to complete a hands-on project that is relevant to the learning objectives. TPACK allows educators to bring "real-world" applications into the classroom as well as it provides an opportunity for students see and hear video clips and audio which can help to teach or reinforce science concepts. For example, many schools do not have microscopes and slides but it is part of the curriculum and expected to be taught. Other technologies can help educators "bring" cells into the classroom through the use of LCD projectors and a computer to pull up various photos and videos. There are unlimited technological resources that can assist in teaching the concepts of science and making learning engaging for students. Successful TPACK integration in a science lesson will allow students to investigate, connect to, and/or make discoveries in areas previously unknown to the student.

In order to build science learners that truly understand science concepts, technology is often needed to aid student understanding. This is particularly important among elementary students first introduced to sometimes abstract concepts, but also as the student develops through secondary education. In order to successfully implement technology in the science classroom, a teacher must consider the concepts taught, the best way to teach the subject (pedagogy), and the technology that will enhance the lesson. The teacher must identify how these three areas work together and overlap in order to fully plan and implement a TPACK lesson in the science classroom. Below are a few resources that provide case studies, lesson samples, and helpful links to help get a science teacher thinking about how these three ideas interact in their classroom.

Examples of Science TPACK lessons

This is a unit plan about the Circulatory System- Your Beating Heart, and the connection between the Circulatory System and another animal system (C).
It includes three different but interrelated lessons designed for 5th grade students. Technology integration (T) includes web searches and multimedia presentations, and pedagogy (P) consists of using the inquiry method.

This is a unit plan for 4th grade science students learning about ecosystems, food chains and food webs (C).
The lesson incorporates simulations, multimedia, SMART Boards, and various websites (T). Project-based
learning, inquiry-based learning and problem-based learning (P) are all used.

This lesson is geared toward 7th grade science students for cell structure and function (C),
using computers and a SMART Board (T), through the use of inquiry based learning (P).

This is a lesson for 4th grade science students learning about ecosystems (C), using the
web and presentation software (T), to demonstrate knowledge through project-based learning (P).

This is a lesson for 8th grade Earth Science students about plate movements (C), using
computers, websites, SMART Board, and the creation of a video game (T), with a teacher
started and student created approach (P).

This lesson is for an 8th grade Earth Science class regarding the interior of the Earth (C),
using computers, websites, SMART Board, Elmo document camera, and Smart notebook (T),
with a teacher started and student created approach (P).

This lesson is for an 8th grade Earth Science class studying plate collisions (C), using
computers, websites, SMART Board, and Google Earth (T), where students research and
the teacher monitors progress (P).

A high school Biology lesson studying selective breeding (C), using an online simulation,
spreadsheet software, and a wiki (T), through modeling, facilitating, and analyzing data (P).

A high school Biology lesson regarding pedigrees (C), utilizing Inspiration concept-mapping
software (T), to create a pedigree with modeling and group discussion for guidance (P).

A high school Biology lesson studying mutations, protein synthesis, and genetic engineering (C),
though the use of a Web Quest and presentation software (T), to research, debate, and present
information regarding transgenic salmon (P).

A 4th grade lesson about energy transfer (C), using PHET simulations (T), for inquiry based learning (P).

This is a 5th grade lesson in the animal survival unit. It is written about inherited vs. acquired traits (C), using inquiry based instruction (P) on Chromebooks with access to Google Docs and Google Classroom(T).

This is a 5th grade lesson plan for the human body systems unit. It focuses on the individual body systems (C), using project based learning (P) on Chromebooks with access to Google Docs and Google Classroom (T).

This is a second grade lesson about Earth and Space Science with the focus being on the objects in the earth's sky; the sun, the moon and the stars (C). The lesson involves the cooperative learning activity, Jigsaw (P), as the students use a WebQuest (T) to conduct their research for their project.

This is a 6th grade lesson for electromagnetism. It focuses on finding electromagnetic fields in the real world (C), using smartphones apps (T), by way of active learning (P).

This is a 6th grade introductory lesson to static charges. Students will be using online simulations (T), to learn about static charges (C), using inquirey-based learning (P).

The Qualities of a Science Teacher with TPACK

Implementing TPACK into any field, including science, means that teachers must have a deep understanding of the content, pedagogical, and technological knowledge as well as a knowledge of their students.
  • Knowledge of the content: Science teachers need to know the science that they are teaching their students as well as what the students will be doing in prior and future lessons. It is important that what is being taught is related to applications in the world and the theories and ideas that scientists are studying.
  • Knowledge of pedagogy: This deals with how the lesson is presented, explained, and organized. Whether science lessons are presented in a lab, group, or individual setting is determined by the teacher based on their knowledge of what will be the best practice for the lesson being presented.
  • Knowledge of technology: Science and technology are highly intertwined which allows science teachers to integrate technology nicely into their science classrooms. A science teacher should be familiar with technology available and attempt new technology with willingness and confidence.
  • Knowledge of students: This is a very important aspect of teachers as they must be able to read their students to determine what will be difficult to learn and where students will hold misconceptions. Teachers must be able to use their knowledge of the topics to address misconceptions in science so students are correctly learning the content.

Technology Integration with Teaching Science

Science and technology fit hand in hand. So much of science depends on technology, which is why a science classroom is such a natural place from technology to be used. It is important to know when to use technology, and what technology will be able to help students with their learning.

The following are two considerations that guide educators about decisions when using technology:
  • Identifying parts of the curriculum that are hard to teach where technology might help overcome pedagogical or cognitive difficulties.
  • Identifying topics in the curriculum for which technology is an essential element of the science being taught

Technology for science teaching is classified into three categories:
  • Technology that is unrelated to science but is used in the service of science. Word processing, spreadsheets, or graphic software fall into this category.
  • Technology designed for teaching and learning science. Programs like Model-It, Virtual Frog, Cooties, BIOKids, and WISE have been developed specifically for K-12 science.
  • Technology designed and used to do science. This includes instruments such as microscopes, remote (web-based) telescopes, CBL proves, and scientific calculators

Technology and Science are Interrelated
This diagram illustrates how science and technology are different in purpose, procedure, and product, but at the same time interact with each other and duplicate processes. An important idea to note is how solving problems with either science or technology is very similar. If solving problems is this similar it is only natural these two skills would work well together in teaching. Technology is used to solve problems in the same way science was which is why these two concepts fit nicely together and are used in the classroom and in our everyday lives. The pedagogy (PK) of teaching science leads itself to using technology. Teachers only need to find ways to integrate these shared procedures into their content (CK).

Limited Technology Tools in classroom
Many teachers are willing to develop TPACK lessons in their science classrooms, but lack of technology tools often cause frustration. Here are some helpful tips to increase technology time in the classroom.
1. Create a one-to-one technology classroom by allowing students to bring in their devices (phones, tablets, laptops, etc.)
2. Research and apply for grants to receive classroom technology. Grants can be found at foundations such as the Meemic Foundation for Educators.

Tips for Shared Hardware

In schools that are not 1:1, sharing resources can be a huge challenge. Here are some quick tips for sharing resources effectively:
  • Hold an introductory session with your students when introducing a new tool.
  • Use the tool yourself first before putting your students in front of it.
  • Have a plan for collecting student work.
  • Communicate with other colleagues that may want to use the resources as well.
  • Manage time with the resources wisely. Set goals for work completion with your students.
  • Communicate with your administration about how and when you will be using shared technology." (edutopia)
  • Also, communicate with parents/guardians so they may understand the goals, and the student's responsibilities when using the resources.


Content Standards

Technology Standards
Michigan Technology Standards

Science Standards
Michigan High School Content Expectations - Essential Science
Michigan High School Content Expectations - Earth Science
Earth Science Companion Document
Michigan High School Content Expectations - Chemistry
Chemistry Companion Document
Michigan High School Content Expectations - Biology
Biology Companion Document
Michigan High School Content Expectations - Physics
Physics Companion Document

Next Generation Science Standards
Next Generation Science Standards - Michigan

Student Friendly Websites for Science

Biology 4 Kids
Chem 4 Kids
Physics 4 Kids
PBS Kids
Try Science
National Geographic Kids
BBC Science Clips
PhET Interactive Simulations
NCES Kids' Zone
Energy Kids
Student Interactives Grades 3-6
Chem Game Tutor
Virtual Circuits
Scholastic- Study Jams Science

Teacher Sites to Integrate Technology

Technology Enhanced Elementary Middle School Science
Explore Learning Gizmos
Case Studies for TPACK in Elementary Education
Discovery Education Technology Lesson Plans
PBS Teachers
Pedagogy in Action
Google Earth
Smithsonian Education Science & Technology Lesson Plans
Teachnology Science Lesson Plans
Internet 4 Classrooms Technology Lesson Plans
Science Net Links Lesson Plans
Edudemic Web 2.0
Mobymax Classroom


Science Technology Concepts
STEM Builder
MDOT Bridge Builder
VEX Robotics
FIRST Robotics
FIRST Lego League
Lego Mindstorms Education

Additional Resources

Articles and Research Studies

Graham, Burgoyne, Cantrell, Smith, St, Clair & Harris (2009) conducted a survey of 15 science teachers (11 elementary, 4 secondary) to find out their confidence levels in four TPACK constructs. This article includes the questionnaire teachers were asked to fill out.

Lye, Wee, Kwek, Abas, & Tay (2014) conducted a study in Singapore with elementary students in grades 4 and 5. The study focused on the design, customization and implementation of energy simulations using TPACK constructs.

Martin, Shaw Jr., & Daughenbaugh (2014) conducted a survey of 48 elementary schools in a Southeastern U.S. state to determine the preparedness for teaching science using manipulatives and Smart Board technology. This survey was used to improve a University elementary teacher education program.


Science Definition
Michigan Career and College Readiness Guide
Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) for Educators
Science Learning Activity Types