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Inquiry-Based Learning in Elementary School | Posted in Elementary Science

Hi Kevin!

I am currently taking a undergraduate course called "Methods of Teaching Science" and we also have a major focus on inquiry-based learning. Personally, I believe that inquiry-based learning is great for students because it gives them a chance to think for themselves instead of merely being told an answer. Furthermore, science is an ongoing investigation of the natural world so even professional scientists are in a continual process of reviewing and asking questions. One way to incorporate this type of learning is to follow the 5E model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate) which easily aligns with Next Generation Science Standards. I suggest becoming familiar with both of these, if you are not already! I cannot think of any cons of introducing inquiry-based learning to lower elementary grades.

Journal Article that addresses your question: https://learningcenter.nsta.org/resource/default.aspx?id=10...._055_01_18 

I hope some of this is useful to you! 


Brooke Tatz

Gardening at school with young children | Posted in Early Childhood

I love the idea of teaching gardening to young children. I have worked in preschool and every summer we made a garden and grew all sorts of vegetables. One year, I decided to make a "greenhouse" for them to grow carrots in, they were SO excited to do this. We simply got two medium clear tubs and taped them together on one end (so we could open it still), and then used toilet paper rolls and put dirt in them and then carrot seeds. The kids participated in it all and helped to water them often. When the time came we planted them outside and watched them grow (and then ate them of course). But if you worry about growing in the cold, make a greenhouse and grow whatever you want. It is a great experience for young children. Good luck!


Nicole Kunzler

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

Beth and everyone,
You might also post this question on the STEM, earlychildhood and elementary email lists/listservs run by NSTA. 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.

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.
They say that organizing the materials for 5 classes a day of children in grades K-8 will make your teaching time more productive.
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.
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 NGSS Appendix E-Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards can help us make decisions about what to teach when.
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.

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.
Best wishes for a successful program!
Peggy Ashbrook


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