Elementary Science

Advice for a future teacher

Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:23 AM

Hi there! I am so excited to be apart of this community and cannot wait to learn more. As someone who struggled with science after the middle school level, I am looking for some advise on how to not transfer any of my old bad feelings/fears about the science curriculum to my future students. Thanks in advance! 

Lauren Pendleton
Lauren Pendleton
180 Activity Points

Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:44 AM

To not transfer your own fears, try approaching this with a different mindset. Think of this as an adventure — an adventure as you explore with your students, and all of you learn together. You can actually phrase it that way as you talk to them, and many of them will think, at times, that you’re just pretending not to understand it completely so that they will investigate and discover for themselves, and that’s fine.

I give my students one of the gizmos from NSTA’s Phenomenon-Based Learning Gizmos & Gadgets books, have them work in groups, with simple instructions to explore the gadget and figure out what’s going on. What is the relevant science involved?

It also helped me a lot to read the Introduction in the book, which explains in more detail how to present the activities. You can see that Introduction for free by going to this link


and scroll down. Under “Details,” you can see a link to read a sample chapter (on electricity). And if you click on that link, you get not only the sample chapter, but also the table of contents and the Introduction. As I was saying, the Introduction is very informative in describing how to present activities in ways that will be both fun and educational for all types of students, along with suggestions for methods of assessment. As students are exploring, you can move among the groups, listen to their interaction, and, when needed, provide some guidance (but not the complete answer or explanation) based on the information in the book for the gizmo that they’re exploring.

Does your school have some funds for materials? The kits of materials designed to go with the book can be seen here:


The kits are expensive, but they give you enough materials for dozens of activities and would be a great investment for any school.


James Dotson
James Dotson
100 Activity Points

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