Evaluation and Assessment

Science Not Really a Subject

I was in a classroom last year before I took my teaching science class this year. While I was there, I noticed that there was barely science being taught and the reason the teacher gave me was because there was no time. As an incoming teacher, I have always wondered what teachers should do in order to make sure that science is being taught in a classroom?

Natalie Prieto
Natalie Prieto
2410 Activity Points

I am currently in my student teaching phase and I have experienced the same issue. The students get a short time (it can vary) for science but they also have to split that with health. So most days the students have been doing health rather than science and the classroom lacks anything involving science. I feel science is constantly being pushed to the side and from my science methods course, my professor has taught me that we can incorporate science into other subjects. Science can be in math, reading/writing, and social studies (as another person had commented about). I will begin my teaching experience next fall and do I worry about this issue. I never valued science as much because my teachers never put a strong emphasis on it. I want to change that for my students and I think that each day, you should try to always dedicate time for science and if possible, think of ways to incorporate science into your other areas. For instance, if you are going to do a read aloud then a writing prompt. Read a science story book and have a fun and engaging science-based topic for them to respond to. By doing this, you can show students that science does not have to be just textbooks or experiments, there are many ways to learn about science.

Alisa Kunhavijit
Alisa Kunhavijit
2600 Activity Points

I have experienced the same issue in classrooms I have been in! It seems that social studies and science are getting pushed aside for literacy and math. What are ways in which we can get these subjects back in the classroom?

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray
590 Activity Points

Hello! I am currently studying to become an Elementary School Teacher and I too have noticed the same thing. Teachers have not taken time out of the school day to teach science. From the schools I have observed, I ask teachers when they teach science and their response usually consists of saying, "At the end of the day if there is time". This tells me that teachers do not prioritize science because they only teach it "if they have time". I assume they do not emphasize the importance of teaching science since this is not a subject that is on their standardized test, such as the FSA. Teachers main focus is on math, reading, and writing since those are the subjects students will be tested on. I believe science is important and should be taught; therefore, teachers should incorporate reading and writing into science. Instead of picking between subjects, teachers can teach science and connect it to reading. For instance, students can read a science article and answer comprehension questions to practice their reading skills. Another example can be to have students write a summary on their observations from an experiment, to practice their writing skills. There are many ways teachers can incorporate reading and writing into a science lesson. This will ensure that there is time to teach all subjects, instead of only focusing on reading, writing, and math.

Sophia Fernandez
Sophia Fernandez
3385 Activity Points

I have also seen this play out in some of the schools I've been observing at. Currently in my field placement I've noticed that the students get only an hour and a half of "science" via a science lab, a week! I thought this to be ridiculous! One thing I have noticed though that maybe integrated lessons are the way to go.

Monica Rendon
Monica Rendon
1280 Activity Points

I agree and I think that integrated lessons is what we should do. I myself only see one hour of science in my placement.

Berenice Deleon
Berenice Deleon
1395 Activity Points

Yes, many of our teachers are feeling less stress to "get Science in" because they are writing and reading about the topics in ELA. Integration is the key!

Connie Kennedy
Connie Kennedy
600 Activity Points

I would have to agree because in my field placement I only get to see a couple of minutes of a science lesson a day and during the week it is only maybe 2 days if the students get lucky 3!

Liliana Garcia
Liliana Garcia
1335 Activity Points

I am in a science methods class currently and my teacher just went over how to do this. She talked about a whole unit she planned by starting with science then integrating other subjects. She was in California at the time and studied rocks and minerals in science, then in social studies they studied the gold rush and statehood(using a company called Interact). For math they studied perimeter, area and problem solving (in the context of mining for gold). And in ELA they read books about the gold rush and wrote research papers about mining for gold and such. They even went on a field trip to pretend mine for gold. I think it would be really simple to create a good science unit and then integrate everything else. Then if you have a principal who doesn't really want you to be teaching science so much then just make sure your teaching the math/ELA aspects when they are watching you. :) I hope this helped! It really helped me to have my teacher explain how she incorporated everything!

Jenica Baessler
Jenica Baessler
875 Activity Points

I agree that integration of science is one of the best ways to make sure it gets included in the daily instruction. I really love the idea of the unit your professor planned. I'm Currently placed in a fourth grade classroom and wish I would have seen this post sooner! I think that is a fabulous lesson idea. I love the way it ties in with all the other subjects as well.

Marci McGlin
Marci McGlin
375 Activity Points

What I don't understand is why some schools are now stressing STEM and others do not address science at all. I have seen schools not far from each other at all that vary incredible amounts when it comes to their science instruction. I think that as Jenica said, if you end up at a school where it is not being regularly taught, that you integrate it into other subject areas.

Summer Born
Summer Born
345 Activity Points

I have to agree. As sad as it is, I have been in classrooms where science was not being taught. However, I can also understand where the teachers are coming from because there really is limited amounts of time for everything else going on. Bu,t that is not an excuse as to why students are not being taught science. In this situation, integrated lessons are the way to go! Integrating science into different content areas will help to incorporate science into the curriculum without having to block off hours of time for strictly science. As a future educator, I hope to plan and integrate science in other content areas to hit my science standards.

Kier Brinkley
Kier
640 Activity Points

Of course, we can always integrate other subjects into science as well!

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11365 Activity Points

When I was a student teacher in a third grade class we used the QTEL (Quality Teaching for English Learners) approach for teaching literacy. Due to the common core adoption, we also have been working to include more non-fiction texts into the curriculum. With that being said, we planned and designed lessons that incorporated QTEL with science non-fiction texts. The students were engaged in the close readings and the activities that followed. Not only were the students immersed in science and literacy simultaneously, but the QTEL strategies also provided extra support for students who were English Learners.

Nicole Bristol
Nicole Bristol
585 Activity Points

It's my opinion that many of us are under the common misconception that teaching science only comes in the form of doing physical experiments or rattling off concrete facts about a particular subject (i.e. - parts of a plant or planets in the solar system). However, if we can teach the students how to think through things using the scientific method, we are in fact achieving science learning. If we teach the students how to ask questions, make hypothesis, gather information, analyze findings, and make conclusions based on evidence, they will naturally be incorporating science into their learning. As teachers we must support this process of thinking and help to make connections to the students' everyday life. I will also agree with what others are saying about incorporating science into the other subjects. We can choose readings which support the science fields and still teach phonics and grammar. Likewise, math classes can relate basic mathematic principles to science fields such as astronomy and chemistry. One of the greatest examples I witnessed of the incorporation of science into math was through the use of the periodic table of elements. Instead of instructing students to add the numbers 1 and 8, each student possessed a periodic table and was told to add hydrogen and oxygen. Of course this was not an accurate representation of how chemistry works but it effectively introduced the topic of elements and the periodic table.

Scott Williams
Scott Williams
490 Activity Points

Your opinion is echoed by many, Scott, and you wrote it so eloquently. Thank you. Now that the NGSS standards are complete and contain connections to the CCC, it will be much easier for teachers to incorporate science into whatever subjects they are mandated to teach when science is being demoted to a sliver of the day, week or year. This link may be helpful to some: http://ngss.nsta.org/making-connections-common-core.aspx

When we provide opportunities for our students to classify objects into various categories; to reason abstractly and qualitatively; to ask and answer questions in order to seek help or clarify something not understood; or to create models to help explain a real life phenomenon - we are allowing them to engage in scientific and engineering practices that will enable our students to solve real-world problems that are encompass all of the subjects.

In the elementary classroom, Emily Morgan and Karen Ansberry have gobs of resources to help teachers make connections between reading, writing, math and science literacy. I invite our elementary educators to check out some of their Picture-Perfect Science Lesson books. book chapters or journal articles. The authors also have a monthly column in the Science & Children journal called "Teaching Through Trade Books". Many of the older articles are free to everyone. Here is an example: http://learningcenter.nsta.org/resource/default.aspx?id=10.2505%2f4%2fsc08_045_08_14
When I did an "Explore All Resources" using the words "teaching through trade books, (filtering for "free", Science Journals, and Elementary) 47 free articles popped up.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
80318 Activity Points

I am currently completing my student teaching year in a second grade classroom. My cooperating teacher is the math and science and around noon, our student switch to our partner's classroom who teaches reading. Being able to be in a math and science classroom has allowed me to see that science is a very important subject. After reading these posts, I have realized how lucky our school is that we even have a science laboratory as one of the specials/block periods student get to go to once a week. I like that my cooperating teacher integrates other subjects with science, she not only does experiments with the students, but she will include reading, music, art, and even poetry! This goes to show that it is possible to integrate science into other subjects as well if the school does not give this science much importance.

Araceli Venturini
Araceli Venturini
835 Activity Points

I think the best thing any teacher can do is push themselves to integrate subjects into their core classroom. Science is this beautiful opportunity to do so, the historical, mathematical and linguistic application weaved into all aspects of science gives students, especially those that struggle in those areas to comfortably approach things in context and at higher levels, so they can really apply those higher level Blooms skills in real time. As new teachers we struggle with the minimal amount of science education we receive in conjunction with classroom application, and as educators outside of a "science" classroom we have to juggle the remnants of past curricular structures and expectations while moving into the future and preparing our students with the structures that need to be in place such as teaching with the Next Generation framework and supporting skill development versus rote concepts. This is difficult, however while we conduct our juggling acts, it is important to utilize and reach out for resources, supports and never being afraid to try something new, especially if our students will enjoy it. Science provides the context and tangible experiences for students to really learn material. It is so exciting that some of you have had the opportunity to learn from educators who make that a part of student teaching experience, as this will come naturally to you when you reach the landing in your own classrooms. Your students will greatly benefit.

Callista Kukawski
Callista Kukawski
345 Activity Points

This happened to me as well. I would advise you to set a specific day and time out of the week to do science. For my class, fridays worked well after math tests. Integration could be another solution as well.

Alexis Rodriguez
Alexis Rodriguez
1350 Activity Points

This is my situation as well. At the school I am student teaching they have a required ELA block from 8 - 10. In my opinion, this is insane. What I have noticed that my CT does is that she does her science lesson during this ELA block but for her engage she'll use a read aloud. Then for her assessment she will have a writing activity. You can always combine two subjects for your lesson. Hope this helps.

Kayla Adair
Kayla Adair
680 Activity Points

Oded Kariti
Oded Kariti
110 Activity Points

I have had this experience throughout my placements too. I think that I have only observed one full science lesson throughout my classroom experiences. I am not a teacher yet, but I do feel that the only way we will be able to incorporate science into our day more is through other subjects. We can create inquiry based projects that overlap in many subjects rather than just one.

Sydney McCain
Sydney McCain
985 Activity Points

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers