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Guest Speakers in the Middle School Classroom | Posted in Next Generation Science Standards
Form what I have gathered and having parents of my own come in and speak to classes and in the upper grade level, they nothing but love it. When members of the community have the opportunity to come in and speak to students, they enjoy every second because these are "real people" coming to talk about "Real experiences" that happen daily. As a very visual and real life learner I have found that I enjoy speakers and guest because as students we can get so caught up into the textbook and lecture life that we forget there is more out there to connect to these text books.
Best of luck!
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!
Science Trips | Posted in Informal Science
There was a great science field trip that I got to observe in my students teaming called Days of Taste. It was a three day process that followed the process of a well-designed experiment and combined the subject of health and good eating all in one! A nearby farm partnered with the school to come to the school the first day and introduce the topic while giving the students different types of demonstration powders to get their taste buds flowing and practice prediction and data collections. The second day the kids went to the farm to see the process of making milk and cheese and harvesting the crops that they are growing. The third and final day, the farm comes back to the classroom alongside of a local restaurant that benefits and works with the farm to finish the investigation process and confirm or reject hypothesis. Then they get to use the foods that they learned about to create a salad that would be the best fit for your health. The combination of incorporating science, health and arts with they creation and display process works out great for the students learning benefits!
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