Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:21 PM
Lacks Lower Elementary Applications
I have a mixed review for this SciGuide, primarily because I am a teacher of young children. I initially perused this SciGuide because it was categorized under “Elementary” as well as “Middle School,” but in fact this SciGuide is geared only to students in Grades 5-8. As a result, I found very few applications for my own Kindergarten classroom.
The SciGuide is divided into three primary themes—Recognizing Energy, Thermal Energy, and Changes in Energy. Even in other SciGuides that have been geared toward older students, I am usually able to find some application for my own classroom, but due to the nature of this SciGuide’s high level content, I found finding relevant applications much more challenging this time.
I think the experiments that are suggested are excellent, and would be very engaging for students in upper elementary or middle school, but they are very difficult for a teacher to implement in lower elementary because they often involve heat or fire. Under the Thermal Energy theme, Conduction, Convection, Radiation Lesson, I found a link to the “Popcorn Lesson.” In that lesson, students can be introduced to these three types of heat transfer using popcorn, as it is (1) heated in oil in a pan, (2) popped in a popper, or (3) microwaved. I thought this lesson would be engaging for my students, but I think I would have a hard time implementing it because I do not have access to a hot plate or popcorn popper. I would also be a little cautious about heating hot oil in my classroom.
So, my review as I mentioned is mixed because although the SciGuide is thorough and provides great lessons for older students, it is very inappropriate for younger children.
Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:26 PM
Applications for Lower Elementary
The “Living in the Weather” SciGuide is geared toward teachers and students in middle school—grades 5 -8, but in browsing the resources, I found many lower elementary level applications for this SciGuide as well. Since much of the content was at a higher academic level, I found myself focusing primarily on the links provided in the lesson plans of each subheading.
Under the Theme, “Predicting the Weather, in “The Eye in the Sky” lesson plan, I found a great link to a PowerPoint presentation called, “Droplets,” sponsored by the Kiwi Kids Cloud Observation Guide. The PowerPoint teaches students about the different types of clouds that can be seen in the sky. In Kindergarten, we spend time making observations of the day and night skies as part of our Science Curriculum, so I thought this cloud study would be a great extension of those observations. I could even add a daily cloud observation to my Daily Weather Routine..
I also like the link to EPA’s website, “A Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change,” which I found under the Theme, “Weather and Climate Basics,” and in the lesson plan titled, “Climate Systems: Which Location is Best for Me.” This website provided many helpful tools to teach the various aspects of Global Climate Change and encourages students to “Think Like a Scientist.” Again in Kindergarten, our Social Studies and Science benchmarks focus less on the high-level content involved in Global Climate Change, and more on the ways that the students should show respect and citizenship. Therefore, I thought I could use the “Be Part of the Solution,” section of the website to devise a class plan for how students can make small changes that will have a positive impact on the global environment.
My only suggestions for improving this SciGuide would be to (1) update the links because I often clicked on a resource, but the link was not active any longer; and (2) offer more SciGuides that are directed toward K-4 learners. I had initially thought that a SciGuide titled, “Living in the Weather,” would be geared toward lower elementary, and was surprised to see that it was more for middle school students.