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Different levels of understanding | Posted in Elementary Science

One thing I have done is leveled puzzles...not hand outs but actual puzzles. If a student finishes their work, they can go to a side table and work on a puzzle of their choice. I started with simple puzzles but over the course of the year, I increased their difficulty. I used jigsaw puzzles or tangrams...I found one kind of puzzle where all the pieces were square with four different pictures on each side and the pieces fit together in only one way--these were extremely challenging and students took many days/weeks to complete (sorry I don't remember what they were called). Puzzles are quiet, independent activities. With only five students, they could collaborate on more difficult puzzles. If they are old enough, you could have them design a puzzle for their peers and let them actually print/cut the puzzle to give to the other students. Great way to engage them in  and teach about the design process.


Lisa Mitchell

Gardening at school with young children | Posted in Early Childhood

Sounds like a great plan of action. You're planting the seeds for further garden lessons in the spring (pun intended). Keeping the school garden going throughout the summer and planting things kids could experience the entire life cycle of was always a challenge for me too! I never balanced it quite right. Our preschool teacher did a great job with her students. They planted potatoes and popcorn each spring and then the new class would harvest in the fall. She also kept her gardening/healthy eating program alive throughout the snowy winter by incorporating specific produce into her baking lessons each week. i.e. beet cake, zucchini muffins, avocado pudding, etc.


Sarah Benton

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

[size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Beth and everyone,[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]You might also post this question on the STEM, earlychildhood and elementary [url=http://www.nsta.org/membership/listserver.aspx]email lists/listservs run by NSTA[/url]. 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.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]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.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]They say that organizing the materials for 5 classes a day of children in grades K-8 will make your teaching time more productive. [/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]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. [/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]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 [url=Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards]NGSS Appendix E[/url]-Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards can help us make decisions about what to teach when.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]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.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]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.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Best wishes for a successful program![/font][/size] [size=3][font=Trebuchet MS]Peggy Ashbrook[/font][/size]


Margaret Ashbrook

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