Suggestions needed for teaching Science to fifth graders. How do I start the year out...Then (in order) on to Life, Earth, Physical? HELP!!! I don't want to read the textbook and do worksheets every day, I want Science to be interesting and fun. How do you stay away from the textbook/worksheet monotony. I desperatley want to hear your PT ideas to help teach everything the students need to know, yet have it be fun so they want to keep coming back for more. OKlahoma teacher.
The most fun I have ever had teaching has been when I have used GEMS units from the Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkeley. Extremely well-planned - written and tested by teachers! - and fun. Check the website for units that might fit your curriculum. Everyone loves these - students, parents, and other teachers. If you need help funding, I bet these would make great Donors Choose projects. I have used Aquatic Habitats, Secret Formulas, and others - those two are my favorites. I teach 3rd; if I taught a higher level, there are several units I would love to teach.
I am starting 5th this coming school year and noticed that there is a new daily practice book coming out in August - I think it is from Evan Moor - anyway, I plan on using this as part of my morning work each morning. I know this is not a way to teach science as a whole but I thought that this was one way to expose the students to more vocabulary and such daily.
Fortunately, science can be very hands-on. I even take the students outdoors for lessons whenever the opportunity allows. In my district we typically start off with Earth Science/Ecology and Weather. The students learn about food chains, adaptations, and competition. I follow the 5E model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend, Evaluate) and use reading to build background. In this unit the students can evaluate the conditions of their own habitat, or act as models of other animals in a particular habitat to demonstrate how these concepts work. I also use Bill Nye whenever possible! The students love watching it.
As for other units like physical sciences, chemistry, and life science, it isn't too hard to take the bones of a lesson, and turn each lesson into an investigation (showing physical changes by cooking or making goo), investigating space by creating starfinders and telescopes, or creating barometers and thermometers.
Field trips also help to extend the learning, we had Neptune's Classroom come into our school and the students loved the experiments they were able to do with their classmates.
Thanks for the suggestions...great stuff. I also saw the daily science that comes out in August and thought about using it too. I have used the daily math as well as the language arts. I wasn't as sure about the science because former third and fourth graders have usually been starved of science skills because of time restraints (you all know science is the first subject to be put on the shelf when time is an issue) , so I'm almost starting from scratch. On first day should I do an eye opener activity to start the scientific process and then safety rules. I don't want to lose control the first day. Thanks everyone. I knew you PT posters would be the experts!
As you work with the hand-on activities, you'll want the students to get their minds-on the scientific knowledge as well. We keep Scientist's Notebooks. Each student has a composition notebook. At the beginning of the year, we set them up with a title page, table of content, and outline for what to include in the entries at the front of the notebook and a glossary on the last few pages. We recorded in these notebooks every time we did an activity.
I'm going to use them a bit differently next year. I will still want students to write down the question we are exploring and their predicitions. I am going to have more of an emphasis on writing about Science experiences effectively. We also made a graphic organizer (Foldables) to record notes as we read information from the Science book. I want to include these in the notebook, too. I will take grades on responses to essential questions, notebook checks, and quizzes. (I don't really care for big tests as they chew up to much of my Science time.)
We just finished doing the Gems Mystery Festival with our fifth grade students. Both the kids and the teachers loved it. We bought the kit through Carolina Biology(something like that). It made things super easy. I purchased it through a grant.
FOSS kits are awesome but expensive and time consuming. I purchased that for our chemistry unit also with a grant.
We use a Roller Coaster Simulation from Interact for our physics unit. I purchased Skyway Marble roller coaster kits with a grant to use for a culminating activity.
Dissecting owl pellets is always a huge hit too.
We hatched chicks just a few weeks ago. Check with your local farm bureau and 4-H organization. That is where we get our incubators, supplies, and eggs from.
We love the National Geographic Reading Expediation books. We use those for information more than we do our textbook.
I love teaching science. The kids love it. The problem is finding the time to get it in.
I find that there are a lot of grants available for science equipment and materials and lots of free units out there.
We teach human body, chemistry, physics, and then life science. We don't teach any earth science in fifth grade because they will get a heavy dose of it in sixth grade because the whole year is dedicated to earth science.
have any lesson plan templates for your food chains, adaptations, and competition activities. Or the physical, chemistry, and life science investigations? Also what is Neptune's Classroom? Is it available in Oklahoma? I'm so excited! Thanks
I may be allowed to purchase the Gems activities as well as AIMS but not sure about FOSS. The roller coaster simulation sounds interesting. Do you have more info on that...lesson plans or templates to share? I have checked into the owl pellets and want to do that, I've also found a virtual owl pellet dissecton to do on the smart board. I am going to check into the incubators and the chicks to hatch. Thanks for the info. I appreciate it so much.
...I will see what I can find for the ecosystems unit when I'm at school tomorrow.
Neptune's classroom is an in-school science field trip. They cover a variety of topics depending on your objectives. We had them come in for Chemistry to help review for our Chemistry benchmark. They provide all of the materials and allow the students to take some things home with them. It's a lot of hands-on, group work, and it's all inquiry-based.
Here's the website: Neptune's Classroom. I'm in Maryland, but they seem to travel just about everywhere. The cost per student was $8.