I really need some advice on some things I can do to liven up science in my room. I have a really hard time with teaching science. It is a part of my professional goal to become a better science teacher so my P sent me to a science conference and everything.
Our curriculum is Science: A Closer Look and all we have is the student textbook and the tubs that do not get refilled. The text is very hard, but we are not required to use the textbooks...our admin is very flexible as long as standards are being met.
So I'm asking how to I get better, any suggestions? (oh and I'm a 2nd year teacher at the fifth grade level)
Since the science books are difficult i would only use them as a resource. For each standard try to find or create a foldable, flipbook, lap book, graphic organizer, activity,or lab to go with it. It will definitely take a lot of time to do the planning. Google and pintrest will be your best resources after searching here.
I love science, and I love teaching it, but so many kids of mine hate it. They also complain that the text is hard (it is). My P doesn't totally like our re t because it sometimes waters subjects down. She insists that if I am going to teach a topic, teach the entire topic.
NSTA has a resource called "stop faking it" for teaching science. It is to help teachers understand more than the textbook. There are also links for lessons and picture books.
I try to incorporate multiple methods in my teaching. I show Bill Nye videos to introduce a subject. I've had kids make power point about scientists and the principles. We do experiments and I have a perpetual scientific process board we use for them.
I've tried a couple of techniques for class room lessons/lecture. I've had them do Cornell type notes and an interactive notebook. I've had them make foldable and assemble a lap book. Next year I think I'm going strictly with the interactive notebook approach.
I have also used the website class tools.net to create game for vocabulary.
We have lab activities 2-3 days a week, and I've been surprised how hit it miss the retention with these labs have been. Definitely something I'm looking to improve next year.
One other thing I am going to incorporate next year is science discovery centers. When I went to the NSTA conference, a presenter talked about her duh moment when she realized that she could incorprAte science inquiry and journal time into her reading groups. She devised simple stations and the students recorded observations in a journal using sentence stems. I though duh! Even in sixth grade my students would benefit greatly from just making observations!
I have also wondered why my students (for the last two years) seem to lack an inquisitive nature. They just don't seem to want to ask questions. They just want answers. So I am looking for ways to build that nature.
I was watching mr magorium not long ago. I thought "that's what I want my kids to feel! I wonder and awe for science!"
I will look into NSTA conferences for next year! I also love the idea of incorporating science into reading and writing...I did that some this year with books on like the human body. We would read and do our reading targets and then they would have to go to the computer and make a PPT slide on the body system.
Thanks again for your advice!
*I always wanted to be a teacher like Ms. Frizzle!!!
Evergreen- thank you. I have felt so frustrated this year.. I want to see them curious, but they simply aren't. I'm working on next year- looking at centers. I'm thinking of putting simple things out and just assign them the task of asking questions.
Example: put out magnets. Or maybe a circuit set. Or density/discovery bottles. Assignment- why? How? Where? What? Give no answers. I have discovered that even my 6th graders have not played with simple things like we did. Magnets, paper clips, safety pins, ball point pins. When I was a kid we entertained ourselves by taking then apart and playing with them. I knew which pieces of gravel would double for chalk. I had no idea it was science. It was simply play.
News 9 in Colorado features Steve Spangler. He is the new Mr. Wizard, Bill Nye the Science Guy and is absolutely awesome. Google him. Youtube him. Your science will never be the same again. Try to get your district to pay for you to go to his 3 day Science in the Rockies conference. You get tons of materials to take back with you. Good luck!
Do you follow the 5E model? Getting something to grab their attention is half the battle.
Also, (and you may already do this) but, teach the students how to work in groups and listen to what another group member is sharing.
Have you checked with a local university to see if they have any groups of science teachers that network to share ideas and materials? In Texas, we have regional collaboratives of science and math teachers. This way we also have access to resources/materials that we could in no way afford on our own.
I started doing something I call "Scientist of the Week" a few years ago. It has really helped to spark an interest in science in my classroom. I have also had more dads visit my room in the past three years to assist their child when they are scientist of the week than have been in my classroom all of my 22 years of teaching. Maybe it would be something that could work for your second grade class as well.
I agree with the notes, videos, labs and foldable approach. I think vareity is the key. I also use games like jeopardy PowerPoint etc. I also create PowerPoint presentations with lots of pics and examples. There is a website called Pete's Powerpoints that has tons on every subject if you need ideas. You can download them then change what you need to for your students.
I have been teaching science to fifth grade for almost two decades now. I have found that when they do projects, they get excited and involved. They love constructing an active working volcano. Earthquake projects were a hit because they got to knock things down. When we studied prehistoric life, they each chose their own dinosaur and build a diorama in a large pizza box showing its habitat. The lid was the background and the base the foreground. The build-a-flashlight project allowed them to get extremely creative. I had flashlight boxes, lamps, and even snakes come in to be presented. When we studies forces, the build-a- roller coaster project from scratch was well received. It is amazing what they can do when you give them the minimum requirements and tell them that is a C. If they want anything higher, they must get creative and amaze me. They do! I grade projects using a rubric.
I like to get them outside if at all possible to explore the natural world. We did a flower walk this spring to see how many flowers they could identify. A GREAT resource for interactive activities in the book you get when you take a Project WET, Project WILD, or Project Learning Tree workshop. When you go to them it is amazing how many interesting ways there are to interest and excite students about water systems, animals and plants. You can only get the activity book through a workshop. It is not sold anywhere. Every activity I have done from there has been an awesome learning experience. My students will beg to do them over and over again.
I don't use textbooks but I do integrate leveled texts. This usually occurs during my literacy block, so students are prepared for science. I also have a visual word wall. In order to get students interested, I integrate technology and other things to interest them.
Let me know if you need more descriptive information.