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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!
Implementing STEM in my classroom | Posted in STEM
I believe STEM is best implemented by allowing creativity, expression, and collaboration in the classroom. In all grades, but especially in the lower grades, I have noticed that students often learn best from each other. I would begin implementing STEM by designing activities around group work and/or students teaching each other.
In math, you can have students share how they got their answers step by step so that others can see and hear their peer's thinking and strategizing. In science, a great idea is having students work on group projects to "research" about the weather, water, and other Kindergarten TEKS. At the end of the week or lesson, the groups can share their findings with the class. I hope my ideas can help you implement STEM education in your Kindergarten classroom!
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.
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