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Gardening at school with young children | Posted in Early Childhood
I love the idea of teaching gardening to young children. I have worked in preschool and every summer we made a garden and grew all sorts of vegetables. One year, I decided to make a "greenhouse" for them to grow carrots in, they were SO excited to do this. We simply got two medium clear tubs and taped them together on one end (so we could open it still), and then used toilet paper rolls and put dirt in them and then carrot seeds. The kids participated in it all and helped to water them often. When the time came we planted them outside and watched them grow (and then ate them of course). But if you worry about growing in the cold, make a greenhouse and grow whatever you want. It is a great experience for young children. Good luck!
Implementing STEM in my classroom | Posted in STEM
I believe STEM is best implemented by allowing creativity, expression, and collaboration in the classroom. In all grades, but especially in the lower grades, I have noticed that students often learn best from each other. I would begin implementing STEM by designing activities around group work and/or students teaching each other.
In math, you can have students share how they got their answers step by step so that others can see and hear their peer's thinking and strategizing. In science, a great idea is having students work on group projects to "research" about the weather, water, and other Kindergarten TEKS. At the end of the week or lesson, the groups can share their findings with the class. I hope my ideas can help you implement STEM education in your Kindergarten classroom!
Inquiry-Based Learning in Elementary School | Posted in Elementary Science
I believe that inquiry based learning is also extremely beneficial for students especially at the lower elementary grades. Like mentioned by others, this type of learning helps the students think for themselves. There are also different types of inquiry based learning, depending on how much direction you would like to give the students. If you are going to completely hand over the reins to the students this is called an open inquiry. In this inquiry the students will be in charge of coming up with a question/problem, procedure, and results/ analysis. This would be a great way to get the students to think creatively and problem solve. However, for the younger students it could be hard for them to come up with everything on their own. So, for this age group I would recommend a structured inquiry. For this, you as the teacher would come up with the question/problem, and the procedure for everyone to do. Then the students would have to analyze and reason as to why these things occurred. In my science methods class we did an experiment called "dancing raisins for our structured inquiry. We were given the question of, "Why do raisins, when added to a cup of sparkling water float to the top of the cup?" We were also given the procedure of putting five raisins in two cups with the same amount of liquid, one with sparkling water and one with regular water. Then it was our job to analyze why it was that the raisins floated in the sparkling water. I think that this would be a great idea of a structured inquiry for younger elementary grades. You can structure it, but still gets them thinking!
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