Elementary Science

Making Science FUN!

As a young student, I wasn't very good at science. That is, until I went into the fourth grade. All of my teachers before the fourth grade were wonderful teachers but they didn't teach science in a way that interested me. It seemed like all we did was read about cool science experiments and then we would talk about them, but we never really DID them. In the fourth grade, my teacher had a much more hands on way of teaching. She believed that students learn best when they are actually experiencing science instead of just discussing it. We did so many cool experiments and we often went outside to look at different small ecosystems. By experiencing the science, we were provided with visual aids as well as hands-on learning, making it much easier for us to learn. As a teacher, I plan to teach science the same way that my fourth grade teacher did. Science is such an interesting subject, as long as it is taught in the right way. Science is everywhere, and I want my students to know that. I want them to look for science everywhere they go, whether it be their backyard or the classroom or the beach while on vacation. Students must be told that they ARE scientists, and they can easily get involved with science. I believe that students should be taught science in the most hands-on way possible, which is exactly how I plan on teaching my students. There are so many fun and exciting things for them to explore in the science world, they just need to be shown that it's not work... it's fun!

Maria Stickley
Maria Stickley
365 Activity Points

Hi Maria,
Many of us have similar stories about how that one grade or teacher turned us on to science. Thanks for sharing yours! You might be interested in another thread that is in this forum titled: Science is NOT my favorite subject. I think the posts reflect a view many elementary teachers have when they have little science background and were never turned on by that special teacher when they were younger. I, like you, am grateful for the wonderful, engaging teachers I had that made science FUN! It would be interesting to hear some other teacher recollections of that one special teacher. What qualities did he/she possess that 'turned you on' to science? How/why did your elementary science classes seem fun to you? Do our memories bring to mind that effective teacher who understood inquiry before it became a "buzz word" in education? Or was it something else like a particular teacher characteristic or quality that made your "science fun" teacher stand out? Based on our personal experiences, maybe in this thread we can create the 'perfect profile' of an effective science teacher or the effective, FUN science learning environment.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Hi. I don't like science that much, especially as I got older science just really was my least favorite subject along with social studies. I remember a few times I enjoyed science class so hopefully these memories will help you when you plan. I remember in elementary school when my teacher brought in an egg and we put it in a little container with a special light and waited for the egg to hatch into a little chick. We would observe the egg and write down everything we saw, we logged in everything. Another thing we did was watch a caterpillar and it's stages in becoming a butterfly or a moth. We would log in everything we saw and would try to guess what we thought the caterpillar would turn out to be. I really enjoyed science then and in middle school I remember learning physics and so as a group we made our own roller coasters. We would time our model and would write down everything we did and drew models and took pictures. After we tried it a few times we would try other groups roller coasters then our teacher asked us to try to make our ride faster and it was really fun learning about how angle and everything effects the speed. We also made water rides to see if that changed the ride. I think I stopped liking science as I got older but I am slowly appreciating science and enjoying it a lot more. I think hands on science really made my class an interesting and fun environment to learn in. Hope you do the same for your students!

Eunice Kim
Eunice Kim
445 Activity Points

Hi Maria,

When my students inform me at the beginning of the year that they don't like science, I always tell them that it's because they haven't had the right teacher yet - and to get back with me on that at the end of May. ;)

Songs, dances, raps, and even costumes are all in my little bag of tricks. Every one of them ties in with my state standards - that's my way of making sure I'm not doing something just for the sake of doing it. Not only to these little tricks get students interested and make my class fun - my students see me taking huge risks in front of them and know it's okay for them to take risks too.

I also highly suggest the 5E instructional model. I created my own lesson plan template using this method - they should have a class on how to get all your lesson plans into those tiny little squares in the planning books. I never have managed to use those things.

Here's some links to some really great discussions on the NSTA boards. You're definitely in the right place. NSTA has been a backbone to my teaching since day 1.

Enjoy! We have the best job!
Kendra

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Kendra Young
Kendra Young
17180 Activity Points

I really enjoyed reading your post and the enthusiasm you have for teaching science. I also felt the same way when I was younger, I always wish I had more confidence in science and I also wish I realized that it can be fun! I think it is really important to let your students know that they can learn so much by simply observing the world around them and they can be scientists wherever they go. Science can be fun, and i find it crucial to let your students know that so they will thoroughly enjoy it and be interested in it. Once they realize this, it will stick with them while the grow up, and hopefully their love for science will also grow.

Alicia Krause
Alicia Krause
470 Activity Points

I think it is great to include as many strategies to get students excited about science as possible. Why should science be something big and scary when in fact it can be exciting and fun. I was a dance and theatre major for my undergrad and I hope that I can bring some of that movement based learning and abstract thinking to my science classroom. I like the idea of music with lessons. I am by no means a great singer but music sure is catchy. So if you can get students to remember something important with a silly song go for it. I found this website to have some great little songs and videos that are at students' level.

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Kathleen Chachich
Kathleen Chachich
2825 Activity Points

The great thing about the science that we will be teaching to children is that most of the answers are easy to find and accessible. Thanks to the internet and powerful search machines like Google, we can have the answers to almost anything within seconds. Hopefully, this can quell many of the fears that many of us may have about teaching, and fill in the gaps our knowledge has formed. My question is, how are we as teachers creating memorable scientific experiences for these students? I honestly cant remember a single shred of science that I did before the age of 11 or 12. Must not have been anything memorable. I can recall certain activities that we performed which contained science, but many times the activity itself can take over the science and one ends up with just an activity and not much learning or science behind it.

Royce Jeffrey
Royce Jeffrey
485 Activity Points

Royce, I don't remember much from science before high school. I do remember the celery in colored water activity, making a model solar system, and sitting through lectures on earth science. Other than that, I'm drawing blanks. That's not to say that I didn't have great science teachers, but the memories haven't stuck with me. I love science, and I hope my interest in it translates to engaging lessons for my students. While hands-on activities and experiments can take a lot of planning and good classroom management, I plan on doing as many of them as possible. I want these activities to be in the form of inquiry learning so they are active in the process and discovering information on their own. Hopefully, that will lead to them remembering what they've learned.

Amy Kelly
Amy Kelly
1635 Activity Points

Royce asks, "My question is, how are we as teachers creating memorable scientific experiences for these students? I honestly cant remember a single shred of science that I did before the age of 11 or 12. Must not have been anything memorable. I can recall certain activities that we performed which contained science, but many times the activity itself can take over the science and one ends up with just an activity and not much learning or science behind it." You are right about the knowledge part, Royce. What our students don't remember is accessible online. So, how we engage them has a two-fold purpose. By embedding the process skills into their inquiries, they are both doing (hands-on) science which is fun and engaging, and they are practicing life skills that they will be able to transfer into real life situations in the future. Science content becomes the vehicle for learning how to observe, measure, predict, infer, write, read, hypothesize, problem-solve...the process skills go on and on. I think many of us can't remember science before middle school, because many of us had elementary teachers who never bothered to teach or even introduce science to us. My earliest memory is 'show and tell' in early elementary. I brought in a garter snake. My teacher was not sure what to do; my mom said she was in shock. So it was memorable. Then in 5th grade we did a weather unit. I made a log of the weather each day for a week. Our logs had to have nicely drawn and colored cover pages, etc. I think that was memorable because the teacher had us doing process skills - observing, collecting data, predicting, etc. When I combine my memorable science experience with what the research is saying about best practices for teaching and learning science, it would seem that fun and memorable go hand-in-hand with 'doing science' and 'process skills'. What do others think? How are we creating those memorable science-type experiences with our students?

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Hi everyone, I agree with those who said science was NOT their favorite subject in school. I always approached science with hesitation because I did not feel "smart" enough to understand the material. Therefore, I never fully gave myself the chance to learn. I hope to change this in my students. I am embarrassed to say it has taken me until college to fully get over this reluctance to learn science but I believe our professor has done the "trick!" I hope to instill in my students that every one of them is a scientist, not because they know formulas or can solve complex equations, but because they can observe their environment and make connections. I plan to engage my students with as many outdoor activities as possible. I believe that sharing stories about other parts of the world is important too. Students can compare their environments with differing environments. I believe this somewhat combines social studies and science and I was wondering if anyone had additional resources on how to combined the two subjects? I am currently a pre-service teacher interning in a third grade classroom. The students are allotted only 45 minutes a day for EITHER social studies or science. I understand that we must follow the curriculum but if I could integrate both subjects in to one, even though my objective may only need to pertain to one subject area, my students could see how interdependent the two subjects are. Thanks, everyone! Lauren Clark

Lauren Clark
Lauren Clark
595 Activity Points

Hi, Yes I also agree with everyone about Science not being a favorite. It is funny I just finished an interview with a 14 years old girl for one of my classes and she wants to be a doctor. I asked her what is her favorite and least favorite subject and she said her least one is Science. When I asked her why she said that the teacher is boring and never has time to finish any experiment nor has time for questions but runs through the material. I don't remember much either except maybe dealing with light and I think this is maybe a reason why I fear it at time but now that I am in a science class with a great teacher I think I am starting to like it more and realize why children, if made fun and exciting also love this subject. I really think that a lot of it is up to the teacher because science is a fun subject. Think about children and all the cool experiments. Teachers need to listen to the students, give them a chance to experiment with new and exciting stuff and really take the time to explain the topics being taught not just rush through the material. I also think it is important to find ways to engage students and make them feel a part of the science world or like someone mentioned make them feel like a scientist. I know that as a teacher I will try to find many innovative resources and do many experiments that students can both enjoy and ;learn from

Revital Curtis
Revital Curtis
925 Activity Points

There is a strong theme coming through, many of us had less than favorable experiences in science when we were students. I was no different. And Lauren, don't be embarrassed, it took me longer than you to get rid of my science phobia. I had been teaching about 15 years when I was introduced to inquiry science, a hands-on, minds-on class. After that I was determined that the students in my classes would have a different science experience than I did. Ever since then I have worked very hard to make science fun and engaging, yet keep up the rigor and the integrity of the discipline. Sometimes, not always, I can do a good job at this. It is hard work to plan a science lesson where students are engaged in the content of the lesson. Yes, sometimes they are engaged by the learning and by coming up with the next question. I sometimes ask a colleague to review my lesson plans and ask them whether they think my "engage" part of the lesson is going to hook the students. I am not always happy with the response so it is back to the drawing board but as we have talked abut earlier, we want our students to like and learn science. What other ideas do people have that will engage students and yet keep the learning rigorous? Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34075 Activity Points

I use the inquiry method of science in my classroom and the majoity of kids in my class say, "Science is my favorite subject!" The kits I use to facilitate this process are 2 FOSS kits: Structures of Living Things, and Earth Materials; 1S TC kit: Solids and Liquids: and 1 Insights kit: Lifting Heavy Things. If you have questions about these kits or the kit-based program I am currently involved in, I would be happy to explain...

Susan Grandick
Susan Grandick
3870 Activity Points

Susan, YEA!! I love it when students say "science is their favorite subject" When I hear it in my classroom, a big smile crosses my face. I bet they say that because of all the good instruction they receive. The work you are doing in your classroom and the materials you are using demonstrate that no one publisher will necessarily meet all of curriculum needs. I am familiar with the materials you mentioned. I use Structures ( Insights ) , Ecosystem ( STC ) Motion and Design ( STC ) along with some others. These all work with the current science standards as well as our state science grade level expectations. Are there other teacher made units. other published materials that help engage students? KAthy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34075 Activity Points

The school I teach at uses a DVD set and workbooks for our science curriculum. It's called Kid Physics and it's terrible! We have asked to change our science to match the rest of the school (FOSS- not great but better) but have been told the FOSS Kits do not meet our standards and benchmarks. This program is definitely NOT making science fun. I am unsure how to move forward. We have a good admin, but I don't think they really grasp the problem. Suggestions?

Will Kane
Will Kane
780 Activity Points

I have enjoyed reading all of the posts about past science experiences. I myself did not have the strongest science background. I went to a very small school that didn't have a lab, and therefore the science activities that we did were very limited. When I began high school, I was very hesitant about science, therefore I took minimal science. It wasn't until college that I started to enjoy science. I took life and physical sciences in college. It wasn't until this semester that I began to understand earth science. I am taking a methods of teaching elementary school science course, and I am benefiting immensely from the information I am learning. I would highly recommend the SciPacks that are offered through the NSTA. I was able to learn an abundance of information about the earth through going through a SciPack. Take Care, Justine Romito

Justine Romito
Justine Romito
1240 Activity Points

Reading the threads about making science fun is extremely beneficial to me as a preservice teacher. My whole life I never really took science too seriously until I too had a teacher that made it “click.” This was in college during a Chemistry class. Her philosophy was definitely to use an inquiry based approach. The teacher instilled the importance of constructing questions, observing, predicting, analyzing, and many other different process skills. This active engagement made me want to learn. This drive to participate and truly understand the material made the class fun. When I become a teacher, I hope to present material in this way to show students that asking questions, and making up new experiments, is not only work, but it is enjoyable.

Danyelle Hanes
Danyelle Hanes
855 Activity Points

I think it is important for students to have fun in a science classroom and to wonder of what’s coming up next. I am currently enrolled in a science education class, and I have been able to see the importance of having discrepant events, hooks, and observations at the beginning of science lessons. Many students do not have any background knowledge on the subjects a teacher will talk about during a lesson. However, by creating observations or discrepant events students will obtain some background information and be more prone to ask more questions and participate during the actual lesson. -Rocio

Rocio Garcia
Rocio Garcia Rangel
750 Activity Points

Hi Maria and thread participants!
Your original post, Maria, has opened up a dialogue about how many of us were not having fun in science classes as students. How wonderful to see that science has become the favorite subject for so many of us as adults. Rocio, thank you for mentioning the Sci Packs. Not only are they outstanding resources for helping teachers strengthen their content and pedagogical knowledge about specific science concepts, they also provide many FUN interactive video clips and activities that can be adopted for classroom use. I have gotten into the habit now to do an advanced search every time I begin a new unit to teach. Then I go to the "My Library" of the Learning Center and either open up my older collection or begin a new collection in which to store all of my resources on that topic. The Learning Center has become my MAIN place to store and access my teaching resources. How much more FUN it is to teach science and science methods when I can always (and easily) find all my stuff! I wonder if anyone else uses the Learning Center and the "My Library" collections feature to get and stay organized. By doing so I have more time to spend on making my lessons more fun and challenging!
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Hi, I am also a big fan of the 5E learning cycle - what a great way to really engage students in their own learning! And I agree, hands-on is the best way to teach and learn science. However, I have found the dreaded "tests" get in the way of really allowing students to explore science, as it should be taught - as an exploration. Looking for ideas, thoughts and comments: How do you address the "there is not enough time" complaint/statement of teachers who insist on teaching from a textbook? How can we help more teachers see the benefits of allowing their students to experience science hands-on? What do you say to adminstrators that question why you are not current with the mapping?

Susanne Hokkanen
Susanne Hokkanen
79060 Activity Points

Boy am I out of my element here. I loved science as a student. I can remember doing great things in my science classes back in sixth grade. For me that was a very long time ago. Our teacher had us all hold hands in a circle and we broke the circle to connect with a magneto. He cranked and we all jumped a little. That was my intro to electricity.
It was my wonderful chemistry teacher who always had something wow to show us that made me decide to become a chemist. I grew up in the big city. We lived in an apartment buidling with lots of other people. When I look back at my education, science class was always the best because I never knew what to expect. Maybe that is the answer. Have kids come into class wondering what they were going to do that day and I emphasize the word 'doing.' All my other classes were reading a text, doing math problems but science enabled me to do things I would otherwise not have a chance of doing.

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101510 Activity Points

Susanne you asked some very real questions. Lately I found have that administators often are more cooperative once they understand what you are doing. Once they can see the engagement of the students, once they can see that you are meeting standards in ELA through your science discussions, science notebooks, and supplemental reading. 'I want to believe that if we show skeptics good science instruction , they will want to be part of this. Maybe I am an idealist but I hope so. So maybe we could come up with a document we could all use to help our administrators understand??? What would this document include?? Should we draft something?? KAthy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34075 Activity Points

I also tell my students who come in "hating" Science that they have not had the right teacher yet. I'd say MOST of my students, after EXPERIENCING Science with me...LOVE Science by 5th grade. I liked seeing that someone else says that too!

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart
7755 Activity Points

I have enjoyed all the comments about Making Science FUN! All of the ideas and activities are great. I would like to add one more. I taught first grade for many years and then went on to teach sixth grade. I took my collection of science picture books with me from first grade to sixth grade. The first time I got out a science picture book to read to sixth graders they thought I was crazy. But after reading the book it caught their interest because it had science concepts explained in a simple way that they could comprehend. If there was a hands-on activity that would go with the book, we did the activity after reading the book. This combination helped solidify the concept for many of the students.

Betty Paulsell
Betty Paulsell
48550 Activity Points

Betty, reading your comment made me think of my students (5th graders). They love when I read picture books. They become so engaged in what I am reading that they cannot wait to work on the lessons that go along with the story. You are never too old to be read to. This is a wonderful way to get students more interested in science. Ricki Luster

Ricki Luster
Ricki Luster
1400 Activity Points

Betty and Ricki, This conversation reminds me of my own multiage grade 5/6 classroom. I too read picture books to my students to engage them in an upcoming science concept. Like you , Betty, in the beginning the students thoughts I was crazy reading picture books. We also sang songs, did choral poems,etc. When studying weather we played games like I packed Grandma's bag and in it I put the atmosphere in the bag. I packed Grandma's bag and I put the barometer and the atmosphere in. I packed Grandma's bag and packed clouds, the barometer and the atmosphere, etc. This was great practice of unit vocabulary and students loved it. We also played Science jeopardy about units we were studying and others we weren't. I wonder how many other ideas are out there which makes science fun and the students are still learning? Please share Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34075 Activity Points

Another way that we try to make science fun is by doing a lot of group projects. We used to do one or two each year, but now we basically do a group/family project for each science strand. Students have so much fun researching, planning and creating, that they forget that they are actually "learning", they also love all of the compliments they get on their finished projects. Ricki Luster

Ricki Luster
Ricki Luster
1400 Activity Points

Everyone, It has been invigorating to read everyone's ideas and enthusiasm for making learning hands-ons. In response to Susanne's post about what to say to the people who feel there's no time... Get with the times. With common core standards and a focus on short focused research projects, science can be integrated with literacy. When I taught second grade one way to make science come alive was for me to allow students to come up with the experiments. We had writer's notebooks where we often wrote "I wonder...". These starters were the foundation of our experiment ideas. We narrowed the ideas down by talking about data collection and what ideas could actually be tested and measured. Then we voted as a class on an experiment that we would actually do and did it. It was a learning experience to narrow down the ideas and think scientifically. Students came up with great ideas and wanted to collaborate to make sure that their idea was chosen next. Thank you for the energy boost! DonnaLynn Samuelu

Kehau Samuelu
DonnaLynn Samuelu
3485 Activity Points

DonnaLynn, Your post has me energized! I am doing a great deal of work with the Common Core in both Mathematics and English Language Arts. I agree, science is the perfect place for teaching literacy skills. Students need to meet standards in speaking and listening. Defending opinions and positions with evidence in science is again a perfect place for practicing . Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34075 Activity Points

Wow! I honestly had no idea that you can make science fun and interesting while sticking to the standards. Reading these posts has given me some good ideas to use when I have to teach science as well as the other subjects. What do you do when the school that you are teaching at does not have funding to allow you to make science more hands-on or the administration is uncooperative? If the school is located in a low-income area with only streets located on all sides of the school, how could you teach students about science and make it hands-on? Emily

Emily Libby
Emily Libby
7695 Activity Points

I agree with Ricki, with limited resources to do science experiments for thirty plus students doing group projects does get the students more involved. With group projects they can interact with each other and learn more about the science topic from different resources other than the textbook. Having the students make models can almost substitute for some experiments for example when studying the body system the classes at my school used recycled items to create their body system. While the students were trying to figure out what items would best represent their body system they gained a better understanding of that body system. While I would like to do more experiments with my class three sets for thirty doesn't work out to well.

Michael Leslie
Michael Leslie
2110 Activity Points

Carolyn asks, "What qualities did he/she possess that 'turned you on' to science? How/why did your elementary science classes seem fun to you?" My sixth grade science teacher, Mr. Sakoguchi, stands out as being an awesome science teacher. I remember he made science hands-on and interesting. One experiment was to test the elasticity of various brands of chewing gum. We chewed various brands for a set amount of minutes and then stretched them out in the hallway. I remember one brand stretching so far that it went around a corner! He also had me make "coca-cola" using various ingredients. Aside from the memorable experiments, he really encouraged me to be curious about my world and understand that science is not something that needs to be done in a lab but is occurring all around me.

Juliet Kim
Juliet Kim
2330 Activity Points

You definitely sound enthusiastic and passionate about teaching science which is unfortunately something many teachers lack. These days, it's all about math and reading. However, I remember in Elementary School, science was the best part because my teachers made it so fun, interactive, and hands-on. We got to do cool experiments, touch things, and make messes. It was so fun that it didn't even seem like it was school related. A lot of ways a teacher could incorporate fun into science is letting the kids explore and observe on their own.

Susan Lee
Susan Lee
975 Activity Points

When trying to make science fun, I also consider the relevance of the science. How will i answer the question, "why is it important I understand this?" I also think about my strategies. How will my students discover that the mass of an item will not change when the item is broken? I also wonder if I have a good picture book that will elicit prior knowledge about the concept. I also try to find a song or poem that might connect to the concept I am trying to help students understand. I hope by doing all of the above that I will engage most of the students, and therefore making it fun! Kathy

NSTA Online Advisors
Learning Center Online Advisors
48425 Activity Points

Everyone has great replays and comments. It wasn't until high school that I really enjoyed science being able to have more hands-ons experiments, my teacher science video clips and there being many posters hang around the classroom. I enjoyed coming to class reading and learning about science. For my students I try to incorporate related science information into notes and then having them do hands on experiments for the students to understand the concept more deeply.

Helen Hicks
Helen Hicks
2635 Activity Points

I teach inner city St. Paul. We are surrounded by houses and businesses. But still when we walk outside there is grass on the lawn by the school, trees with birds, sidewalks with cracks caused by nature, the blue or cloudy sky (weather/water cycle is every), the park down the street with more trees, grass and rocks. If you look you find science everywhere. It's just the explanation for how our world works. Most of what I do for science doesn't cost any money. (I am lucky enough to have a wonderful science text book which covers most of the MN standards) When I didn't have a text book I went to the library and checked out picture books on the topic. I agree with all the posts that picuture books are a great way to help kids understand science concepts.

Joachim Huber
Joachim Huber
2080 Activity Points

I loved science all my life. I have my dad to thank for that. He was a teacher. Over his career he taught all grades 1-12 and all subjects including, such things as boxing and drama. In his heart though he was a scientist, a Biology major from the U of M. He approached everything scientifically (even teaching reading which is why he was so successful at it) At home we grew up with a garden on the side yard of our house which we fertilized with the compost pile we made from grass clippings, honey bees in the backyard(some of the the neighbors weren't so happy until they got strawberries from our bed and jars of honey from the bees), fish, hamsters, birds, cats and dogs as pets. Silk worms in his and mom's bedroom (we rolled silk from the cocoons - he was always reading how to do things)We made wine from the eugenia berry bush in the yard, lemon things from the lemon tree in the back yard. We helped him build a shed and a garage door and a fence. Cut down the pine tree in the front yard that was growing into the house, dig out the stump, and put a new foundation (200 cement pillars) under our house. You may have guessed by now that we had a big family. That is correct, 12 kids. If you guessed we lived in a rural area, guess again. We lived in Lynwood, CA, a suburb of L.A. I grew up with science. We just didn't call it that. We called it living. Science is all around us. Drawing kids attention to it and showing them how it can enrich their lives, that is the challenge of teaching science. Science itself is always fun. (brothers who made baking soda and vinegar bombs, showed you how fish and shoot or how to collect clams and make the shells into presents for people or how to rebuild the engine on a lawn mower or car didn't hurt either. We did live in a small town in Mn until I was 7 when we moved to LA. But all the things I mentioned in the first paragraph were done in a big city)

Joachim Huber
Joachim Huber
2080 Activity Points

Science seems to be a lot different now due to standards and benchmarks. I remember science being hands on and interactive...basically FUN! Now, as an elementary teacher, science is different because all the things I want to do don't align with a standard or benchmark for my grade level. I also find myself spending a lot of my own money to conduct experiments that do align with my standards and benchmarks. Over time it gets very expensive for me and I end up not wanting to do the lesson. My school does provide us with KidPhysics, but watching a DVD and seeing someone else do the experiment isn't as fun. The students hate watching those DVDs and taking notes. We also have a science lab, but it caters more towards our lower elementary students.

Cristey Kagawa
Cristey Kagawa
2970 Activity Points

I find that I can usually borrow the materials I need eg. scales, beakers, balances, droppers for measuring, graduated cylindars, wires to make circuits, from the middle school science lab teachers I know as long as I return them in good shape and as soon as I'm done. Most other things I need I find in my kitchen. Once in a while I'll buy epsom salts for making crystals or a few other things but I scrounge most materials needed for experiments, spending little of my own money. You are definitely right about kids need to DO the experiment not watch someone else do it. I do like the Brain Pop videos since they repeat the vocabulary so many time in a video but then the kids need to do the experiment themselves. Good luck. Don't be afraid to ask. The science lab teachers I know are always willing to share.

Joachim Huber
Joachim Huber
2080 Activity Points

Joachim, I would have liked to have grown up in your house. I think I would have loved it and I am sure I would have felt differently about science than I did. I came to science as a latecomer. About mid -career I was introduced to inquiry science as an adult. what a difference! I already knew I wanted science to be different for my studentss than it was for me, actually doing the science and the learning was a real turning point for me. I also think you can meet standards and still have fun in science. Cristey, What science would you like to teach if you didn't have to worry about expense and/or standards? Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34075 Activity Points

Thanks, Kathy. It was pretty amazing though I'm not sure I appreciated it as much then as I do now. I rether took it for granted. I agree. You can teach the standards and have fun. In fact if the kids aren't having some fun they may not remember what they learned and then what good was the time spent? We have to actually do things and use things to keep the learning. How many repetitions did it take for us to learn to ride a bike, roller skate etc.? We had to do it and do it repeatedly to keep it.

Joachim Huber
Joachim Huber
2080 Activity Points

It is very interesting to read all of your comments and suggestions. For the first semester we used Cornell "2 Column Note Taking" and "Three Column Vocabulary" my students enjoy these formats because they know that their older siblings are using them in Intermediate and High School. For this semester, we have been incorporating art with many of our lessons which is something the students enjoy and look forward to. I actually have students asking if we can do science because they really like it. I would have loved it if any of my teachers when I was a student were to have used any of your suggestions. Thank you again. Ricki Luster

Ricki Luster
Ricki Luster
1400 Activity Points

It is very interesting to read all of your comments and suggestions. For the first semester we used Cornell "2 Column Note Taking" and "Three Column Vocabulary" my students enjoy these formats because they know that their older siblings are using them in Intermediate and High School. For this semester, we have been incorporating art with many of our lessons which is something the students enjoy and look forward to. I actually have students asking if we can do science because they really like it. I would have loved it if any of my teachers when I was a student were to have used any of your suggestions. Thank you again. Ricki Luster

Ricki Luster
Ricki Luster
1400 Activity Points

As a young student, I wasn't very good at science. That is, until I went into the fourth grade. All of my teachers before the fourth grade were wonderful teachers but they didn't teach science in a way that interested me. It seemed like all we did was read about cool science experiments and then we would talk about them, but we never really DID them. In the fourth grade, my teacher had a much more hands on way of teaching. She believed that students learn best when they are actually experiencing science instead of just discussing it. We did so many cool experiments and we often went outside to look at different small ecosystems. By experiencing the science, we were provided with visual aids as well as hands-on learning, making it much easier for us to learn. As a teacher, I plan to teach science the same way that my fourth grade teacher did. Science is such an interesting subject, as long as it is taught in the right way. Science is everywhere, and I want my students to know that. I want them to look for science everywhere they go, whether it be their backyard or the classroom or the beach while on vacation. Students must be told that they ARE scientists, and they can easily get involved with science. I believe that students should be taught science in the most hands-on way possible, which is exactly how I plan on teaching my students. There are so many fun and exciting things for them to explore in the science world, they just need to be shown that it's not work... it's fun! Throughout my years in school, I never did anything fun in my science classes. The only fun things I remember doing were the science fair projects in elementary school. When I entered middle school and high school, science was all about reading the book and completing boring worksheets. As a future teacher, I really want my students to understand and enjoy science. I don't want my students to find science hard and boring as I once did. It might be hard for us to try to do an experiment every day in our classrooms, but we should try our best to make our lessons fun and meaningful to our students by making them work in groups, showing videos or movies, and guiding them to fun projects.

Doris Padilla
Doris Padilla
3345 Activity Points

My students always love science. I think the most important factor is the teacher loving it. I find the kids love what I love. It is good to make it hands on, from observations recorded in notebooks to experiments in the classroom to reading the text (which my students also love as long as we find a way to keep what we learned either with art work, notes or acting out the water cycle.) Learning itself is fun. The boring problem comes in when you sit in a classroom and do not learn. Accountability and action really help. The teacher loving what they teach is key.

Joachim Huber
Joachim Huber
2080 Activity Points

I totally agree with Joachim that the teacher's attitude about a subject influences how students perceive it. I love math and I've heard my first graders say they love math because if you're enthused about something, you'll approach it differently. Science is the same way. Being in elementary, I try to make science lessons relevant and fun. I'll be going into a second grade classroom to do a science/health lesson on food safety and have found cute songs linked in the Food Safety SciGuide to introduce the importance of keeping food cool and hand washing. http://foodsafe.ucdavis.edu/html/audio/keep_it_cool.html (Click on Music Tracks on the left for more songs.) Science can and should be fun at any level. I have good memories of my high school biology, chemistry, and physics classes.

Lori Kuwahara
Lori Kuwahara
500 Activity Points

Joachim I could not agree more. I have done many field hours throughout my educational journey and I have been in classes where even I wanted to fall asleep. The sad part is that these were teachers who have all the technology in the world available in their classrooms yet they show no enthusiasm for what they are teaching. If you like what you are teaching then so will your students. Science should be a fun subject where students can "do science" and not just learn science. I am very excited to begin my student teaching in August, I have learned so much throughout my journey and I cannot wait to apply all the things I have learned in my classroom. I especially feel that I learned a lot in the area of science ( very excited to teach science).

Stephanie Salazar
Stephanie Salazar
3580 Activity Points

Hi, my name is Stephanie and I completely agree with you! As a child, I did not like science. My teachers were always teaching us out of the textbook and we really never had hands on experiments. I am a kinesthetic and visual learner and I wish my teachers would have had us more involved. I believe allowing students to be explorers for themselves will benefit them greatly. As a future educator, I will be implementing a lot of hands on experiments and inquiry lessons.

Stephanie Landa
Stephanie Landa
3950 Activity Points

Stephanie, You are right. But when you actually get into the classroom you will see how easy it is to give in to the lure of just getting through the required curriculum. Just keep reminding yourself that the brain can only absorb what the butt can endure and that is about 1 - 2 minutes of listening at a time per grade level. By 5th grade if your presentations are more than 5 - ten minutes (and 10 min is a stretch) you are spinning your wheels. Have kids doing every day. More from them than from you.

Joachim Huber
Joachim Huber
2080 Activity Points

Lori, Have fun with the food lessons. So glad you are using music. Music/poetry are great ways to help kids retain learning.

Joachim Huber
Joachim Huber
2080 Activity Points

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