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Incorporating science in a family vacation trip | Posted in Informal Science

Greetings!

As teachers, we’re always on the prowl for ideas and resources for our classrooms. You can tell who the teachers are at amusements parks (figuring out the physics principles at work), on the beach (identifying shells and other critters), and on the hiking trails at state and national parks (with binoculars and guidebooks or ID apps). We take (drag?) our families and friends to museums, science centers, zoos, nature centers, botanical gardens, and arboretums. Even at historical sites, we can find applications of science to share with our students (for example, while my husband and I were exploring the history of the Gettysburg Battlefield, I was also photographing the lichens on the monuments). We stop the car to photograph interesting rock outcrops or fantastic cloud formations. Our souvenirs include rocks, sand samples, fossils, pressed wildflowers, maps, brochures, books, and thoughts and reflections about improving what we teach. (Be sure to follow local procedures about sample-collecting, though. Photographs are good!)

My husband got used to the fact that our vacations always had a science component! And I enjoyed sharing my experiences with students.

Mary B.


Mary Bigelow

Teaching Earth Science for the first time | Posted in Earth and Space Science

I don't remember where I got this (possibly Facebook - or here!) but I use an inflatable globe and throw it out to a student. The student catches it and tells me how many of their fingers are touching water. They then share something about themselves and toss it to another student. Tally up the number of fingers touching water for each student and then calculate the average at the end It should be close to 70%, the amount of the planet's surface covered with water.


Cris DeWolf

Field Trips | Posted in Elementary Science

Hi Rochelle,

Field trips can be a great way to engage students with science.  Our school asks us to include one field trip for each class.   Local museum and other educational institutions are a good place to start.  I've taken my chemistry students to a local aquarium the past two years where they have a hands-on program on water quality in the aquarium as well as a local waterway.  Biology students do a program at the natural history museum.  Environmental science students have done field studies at local parks, a waste treatment plants and composting facility.  This year we began the school year with a service project.  Students were bused to a number of location organizations, parks and institutes to do some volunteer work, but also to learn about the needs in the community.  A couple groups went to a local nature park and another to an arboretum where they both helped in planting and weeding and also learned some of the science behind maintaining a healthy ecosystem.  Think about what resources are available in your area and then make some phone calls.  

Rebecca Falin


Rebecca Falin

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