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STEM as a "special"?? | Posted in STEM

Beth and everyone,
You might also post this question on the STEM, earlychildhood and elementary email lists/listservs run by NSTA. You will add to the conversation and reach even more experienced NSTA members. The responses come to email instead of being archived on a platform but the conversations are just as helpful.

My experience is with children ages 2.5-5 years old--also a wide developmental range : ) I haven't taught in your situation but over the years I've heard from others who have.
They say that organizing the materials for 5 classes a day of children in grades K-8 will make your teaching time more productive.
Think about what materials can be left out for subsequent classes. For example, having high shelves where I can quickly move trays of materials used by the 4/5s when the Twos come into the room is essential.
Think about projects that can involve multiple ages at different levels, such as gardening. While middle school students are examining cell structure using microscopes, Kindergarten students can be planting seeds. The NGSS Appendix E-Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards can help us make decisions about what to teach when.
In keeping with research that shows children learn over time, plan to teach a concept over weeks and months, not just one week, especially the K-2 students.

I hope your colleagues in the grade level classrooms can meet with you to see how you all can collaborate so science-technology-engineering-math doesn't become isolated from the rest of the children's learning.
Best wishes for a successful program!
Peggy Ashbrook

Margaret Ashbrook

Learning Science Concepts through Play | Posted in Early Childhood

I think A LOT of science concepts can be taught through play! A lot of the experiments done with children, they will think it is playing. Children are so much more engaged in activities like this instead of just sitting in lecturing to young children. Learning through play is even beneficial for older students!

One experiment that I did with second graders that they really liked was "Cloud in a Cup". In this experiment, the children really liked putting the shaving cream on top of the water, adding food coloring and watching the food coloring collect and eventually fall like rain.

This link talks about different experiments that children can do that are basically playing!

Ashtyn Riley

Assigning Homework | Posted in New Teachers

I am in early childhood which can be very different from 4th and 5th. However, I personally view homework to be extremely important in all areas. The most effective methods that I have seen homework done is in large packets for the week and baggy books with comprehension questions each night. In the large packets I have seen a teacher do all reading and math or a couple pieces of the packet to be reading, a couple math and some for writing, science or social studies. I have heard of some elementary schools doing away with homework all together. However, I personally feel that homework is important to help support the involvement of the parents in their child's education and if you do away with homework that is not giving the parents the opportunity to see what their child is doing and learning.

Victoria Wilt

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