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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.
Periodic Table | Posted in Physical Science
I have used a few techniques that have really helped. One of them is Periodic Table Battleship. This was even fun for the Chemistry students. I also have an interactive Periodic Table that they can log in with their cellphone and pull up realistic examples of the elements. I have also found interactive tables online. I also have written the elements out on index cards and they have to split into groups and the first team to lay them out correctly on the floor is the winner!
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!
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