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Keeping Students Engaged | Posted in Elementary Science
I think along with Katherine said about engaging and hands-on activities, students interpret and understand new information well when they can connect what they learn back to something they are familiar with in real life. In other words, creating meaningful activities and asking purposeful questions that help students think about the subject outside of school terms is a great tool when teaching. I also like KWL charts and flow maps that can help the teacher evaluate if the students have gotten the "big picture" out of the lesson.
Science Trips | Posted in Informal Science
We studied habitats and what animals eat. We have a place here locally called Bear Country USA. We took a tour of the facility and then the nutritionist for the animals came and showed us how they prepare the meals for the bears and other animals. There was actually a Scholastic News article about how meals are prepared at zoos or animal sanctuaries. It was perfect timing with our field trip. If you have a local zoo or animal rescue place you can ask if you can take a field trip and talk about nutrition of animals .
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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