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When I was in elementary school, centers were one of my absolute favorite activities. Does anyone have any suggestions for different centers that can be used throughout the year in an elementary classroom?
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I just did a quick search for "science centers" (be sure to put the quotes to narrow the search) in the Search Engine and found 13 articles with lots of ideas. Good luck in make choices with so much to choose from!
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A while back, I created a collection of resources for science station ideas. You can access it at:
Science Learning Stations
As Betty mentioned, there are a lot of great ideas shared by other teachers.
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When I taught I never had classroom management issues because students were aware that timeout would not be at recess and instead at centers. They absolutely hated the idea of having to be an observer and not participate, good luck!
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In the school I am doing my field experience the teacher uses learning centers. They have various one. It is for a 2nd/3rd grade gifted class. The learning centers include writing, reading, science, and a "focus wall." A focus wall is one of the cutest things I have seen. It includes an essential question that students reflect on, think about and give answers to. I believe a new one is given every 2 weeks. For example, the one for this week was In Which Ways Do we Care for Animals? The focus wall also includes comprehension skills, how to find key details, the definition of cause & effect relationships, different genres, and grammar. Ina sense all these are applicable across all the subject matters. These are just some examples. Where I am observing these centers and focus wall work really well for these students. I would suggest that you continue to research and even take a poll in your class based on your students' needs, interests and learning styles. You have to do what works for your students. Wishing you the best in your endeavors!
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One idea is to use materials that can be put together for mini science experiments or explorations.
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There are so many possibilities....Have a set of rocks and images of different environments where the rocks might be collected for students to try to match and trade books on rocks and minerals for them to read about. Have magnets and materials to test what is magnetic and what is not. Have a plastic comb and some wool cloth and have them test materials to see if they are attracted to static electricity (this works best in the winter when the air is dry). I have a pegboard (those holey boards they hang hooks up in garages with) and I purchased some light sockets, flashlight bulbs, knife switches, and battery holders (you can get these at Radio Shack or several companies sell them in kits) and got wires to attach all of these on the pegboard. Then with some wires with alligator clips, students try to figure out how to make the lights work and what are some different ways to hook up the different components.
Please do not have static, passive stations. Vocabulary and reading are good (and important to integrate - put in some math and graphs if it fits, too!) but also have something students can touch, manipulate, or experiment with. If you do, and have the reference materials, too, you will find students will teach themselves and each other at the science stations. To steal a line, "if you build it they will come" and they will learn "with or without you." Which is an empowering thing for them to learn along with the science.
As for topics - what are you reading about? What ties in with your social studies? What are your grade standards (state or national)? You have many many resources to draw on for ideas.
(I love science stations - I used them in my middle school classroom too!)
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I am currently in school for education and I love the idea of science centers because you can cater to all learning styles by providing various activities. They can provide so many learning experiences for students in a short amount of time
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I Am Currently In School For Elementary Education And I Have Seen Many Science Centers, They Are Great For Student To Get Involved.
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And all of the interested readers and contributors to this thread on science centers in elementary classrooms.
In addition to all of the good ideas already shared on this thread by lively posters, it is fun to search resources within the Learning Center to discover items that speak to designing and establishing science learning centers within elementary classrooms. Some of these articles also give us ideas about how to integrate core topics with science and to insert science into classrooms that may be heavily weighted toward the basic 3R's:}
Attached is a collection of some resources from the Learning Center that teachers deem as great examples to educators wishing to create science centers in the early grades. If you find one that is of particular interest, please share your thoughts with us. Your voice excites others!
Many thanks ~patty
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