Research in Science Education

Teaching Science in the classroom

I am a student pursuing a k-6 licensure and I am currently observing at an elementary school. I met with my mentor teacher today and she stated that she only teaches Science for the first half and the semester, and then switches to Social Studies. Have you ever experienced this or is this common for classrooms today? 

Carley Riggins
Carley Riggins
215 Activity Points

It depends on which grade level in elementary. I have seen 1st through 3rd grade teach some combination of science and social studies where they are alternated by units or weeks. The reason this is done is because the lower elementary grades have to fulfill more minutes in reading and math so that social studies and science are left with 30 to 45 minutes that must be shared.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
85619 Activity Points

Hi Carley -- What grade level does your mentor teach? If a state has a standardized test in science in the Spring (often in grades 4 and up), not having any science instruction in an entire semester could be a problem. We could certainly have a discussion about the importance of science and social studies and student interest in these subjects, but as was noted, the reality is the requirements in reading and math instructional time in the early grades. I am more familiar with schools that give teachers the flexibility to alternate science and social studies daily or weekly depending on the topic and activities. But I do know of a school in which the principal told teachers not to teach science or social studies until fourth grade, to prepare the little ones for the third grade tests. Yikes! Mary B.

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
7775 Activity Points

Hi Carley, I am currently student teaching in a first grade classroom. My mentor teacher tries to make sure that she has 20 minutes each day to teach Science. She teaches Science and Social Studies every day, in the classes that I have observed in prior to student teaching this is the case as well. Maybe it has to do with the state where you are getting your license?

Samantha Kalmick
Samantha Kalmick
500 Activity Points

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