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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=10.2505%2f4%2fsc17_055_01_18  I hope some of this is useful to you! 


Brooke Tatz

Different levels of understanding | Posted in Elementary Science

One thing I have done is leveled puzzles...not hand outs but actual puzzles. If a student finishes their work, they can go to a side table and work on a puzzle of their choice. I started with simple puzzles but over the course of the year, I increased their difficulty. I used jigsaw puzzles or tangrams...I found one kind of puzzle where all the pieces were square with four different pictures on each side and the pieces fit together in only one way--these were extremely challenging and students took many days/weeks to complete (sorry I don't remember what they were called). Puzzles are quiet, independent activities. With only five students, they could collaborate on more difficult puzzles. If they are old enough, you could have them design a puzzle for their peers and let them actually print/cut the puzzle to give to the other students. Great way to engage them in  and teach about the design process.


Lisa Mitchell

Implementing STEM in my classroom | Posted in STEM

Hello Leslie! I'm also currently working with kindergarteners for my student teaching. I think that one easy way to implement STEM in a classroom would be to start off small by using the kind of language you would hear in a science classroom. Using vocabulary such as "experiment, predict, and observation" are just small ways you could implement STEM. Additionally, you could think about the kinds of lessons that you are presenting to your students. You could think about which of your lessons could be presented as a problem or a question that students can explore. By doing this, your curious, little learners can think about problem solving and research.


Krystal Kennedy

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