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Guest Speakers in the Middle School Classroom | Posted in Next Generation Science Standards
I teach 7th grade life science from 8:40a-2:20p and have about 8 guest speakers a year.
I have found that most guest speakers are willing to stay all day and repeat themselves!! I usually provide them with water and lunch/snacks.
I have found that most guest speakers do not provide notes for students to take, so I ask for their PowerPoint before they come in order to create a student handout. My students are much more engaged when they have something to follow and take notes on.
Go for it! Guest speakers enrich the unit and experience!
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!
Gardening at school with young children | Posted in Early Childhood
I think you should do it in the spring considering that they have moved into a new location, meaning give it some time for them to settle in to their new environment. Regardless, doing it during the spring time will help the plants grow at a faster pace than any other season as during the spring, it isn't raining too much or it isn't too hot like the summer. I honestly find the gardening idea to be fascinating to both the students and the instructors as it shows students what living things like flowers, need in order to survive.
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