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The Rock Cycle | Posted in Earth and Space Science
It would be helpful to know what the students already know about rock formation and earth science in general.
If they have a basic understanding of rock formation then a hands-on activity identifying rock samples in a general way would reinforce their beginning understanding of the characteristics of sedimentary, metamorphic, or igneous rocks. The processes that form rock are more easily understood when looking at actual rocks.
Inquiry-Based Learning in Elementary School | Posted in Elementary Science
I am currently taking a undergraduate course called "Methods of Teaching Science" and we also have a major focus on inquiry-based learning. Personally, I believe that inquiry-based learning is great for students because it gives them a chance to think for themselves instead of merely being told an answer. Furthermore, science is an ongoing investigation of the natural world so even professional scientists are in a continual process of reviewing and asking questions. One way to incorporate this type of learning is to follow the 5E model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate) which easily aligns with Next Generation Science Standards. I suggest becoming familiar with both of these, if you are not already! I cannot think of any cons of introducing inquiry-based learning to lower elementary grades.
Journal Article that addresses your question: https://learningcenter.nsta.org/resource/default.aspx?id=10.2505%2f4%2fsc17_055_01_18
I hope some of this is useful to you!
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