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Informal Science In the Classroom?
Tue Nov 04, 2014 3:24 PM
I'm currently in school to become a teacher, and I'm gathering so many great project and lesson plan ideas through The Learning Center. I was wondering, however, what ways do you promote an informal science education in the classroom? Do you engage students during recess? Do you allow them to play with science toys during their free time?
Thanks for your insight,
1875 Activity Points
Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:10 AM
Our school held a family math and science night-- I asked my students to help me plan a demo using some of the activities from either the most recent kit/ unit we'd used or from their favorite one. They worked on it during free time and recess. They really took control and some came to the event and became "hosts" to introduce the visitors to our activities.
Our school had a school garden that was near our playground. Without a real formal lesson, we planted seeds there. Again, some students took charge....checked and watered and weeded it at recess, reporting to me what they saw until it was time to pick, then we made a trip back to the garden for that.
1000 Activity Points
Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:38 AM
I do have some science "toys" that students are welcome to interact with when they have finished other classroom tasks. These include scale models of the Saturn V rocket and the space shuttle. There are also many large samples of a variety of rocks, minerals, and some fossils that students will often ask questions about. And - I have animals in my classroom. During some group work I'll let students have one of the bearded dragons out at their table that they can feed while they work on their project.
10995 Activity Points
Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:23 PM
I find it useful to go over a science concept in the classroom during the day and have the students attempt to find this concept at work at home. Convection in the kitchen or electricity in the computer type events. I like to reinforce more academic language in a less formal and low risk environment. I still remember wavelengths from a simple wire experiment in class that I related to my guitar at home.
6585 Activity Points
Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:21 AM
You have so many very interesting ideas regarding informal science lessons. I believe one of the best ways to teach science informally is through lesson integration. I think it is crucial since there is so little time to deep dive into subjects because teachers are having to spend so much time concentration on standardized test. Teach hub has become a great resource for informal science lessons.
1690 Activity Points
Sun Nov 09, 2014 5:31 PM
My daughter's school is hosting a Hands on Science fun session where parents are going to be partners with students in lot of scientific activities. We just had a training session done where they talked about different things that parents can incorporate at home in a fun way to boost science awareness among kids.
1290 Activity Points
Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:18 AM
I love the idea of having manipulatives for students to work with Cris.
1000 Activity Points
Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:43 PM
when my students go wash their hands we talk about germs and how they can spread. That being said, you can teach them about germs when going to the restroom, before and after going to lunch, and after recess.
1330 Activity Points
Sun Nov 16, 2014 4:47 PM
Jesus I thought it was funny what you posted about teaching about germs. I've done this too in a pre-school I used to work in. This is a great way to teach something related to science and their lives. I think science should be taught like this. We bring up students' background knowledge of what they know and we connect it back to the TEKS.
1590 Activity Points
Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:04 PM
I'm currently a pre-service teacher and I've observed that the best way is to incorporate science throughout the school day. I've seen my cooperating teacher integrate ideas about science in other content areas, whether it be math, language arts, social studies or art. Especially when it comes to whole group and reading together, the books of interest tend to lean towards wildlife and nature based content.
1315 Activity Points
Sun Nov 30, 2014 4:15 PM
I think those are some great ideas, if students have already learned what you're talking about or its being used as an introduction. I am also a student on my way to becoming a teacher and have learned about using science vocabulary throughout the day. For example, when you want students to line up quietly you ask them to line up using potential energy. On the way out of the classroom, ask student to use mechanical energy to flip the light switch to off. Students please closed the circuit and hold both of your partners hands. I think using science throughout the day, as long as we are using it meaningfully, can help students better understand science isn't just in a lab and help them understand science concepts in a deeper way.
1520 Activity Points
Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:01 PM
I agree with you all about making connections. I feel throughout the day we need to weave information across all subjects and probe a thought processes and conversationsin a specific way to make connections.
1640 Activity Points
Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:14 PM
I am a 4th grade teacher. I have also taught 2nd grade. I often have science labs (mostly demonstrations, but sometimes activities that the students must do themselves). With these lessons the students are required to do some sort of worksheet/lab paper/reflection, etc. and hand it in. Sometimes I have them do independent activities one or two at a time. One example would be 2 different types of soil (each in an old cake pan,) a tweezers, magnifying glass and eye dropper with water. The students have to study each soil type and list 3 things they observe about the 2 types of soil that seem alike and 3 that seem different, or any other observations they can make. This can be done in their free time (one or two students at a time) and the students may get 10 points for the observations. I also have one that uses rock samples.
The students usually love these kinds of activities that are open ended and they can observe and explore. Having them responsible for writing something down and handing it in gives the activity a little more importance.
Sometimes my best activities happen by accident. One day I heard a student say, "Did you know that you can make popcorn with out one of those big machines?" I did a demo of popping popcorn using my hot plate and a pan with a glass lid so the students could see the popcorn "POP" Each kernel is a mini pressure cooker. After that we ate popcorn and watched a movie that the students had earned.
245 Activity Points
Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:17 PM
This is awesome! I feel that some teachers get intimidated by science because they dont want to deal with the big experiments and all the equipment and supplies that are needed. These small demonstrations are still engaging and are interesting because they pertain to students' home lives! Science is everywhere and these small pertinent easy demonstrations are valuable and fun!
455 Activity Points
Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:19 PM
I often have informal discussions about science topics during reading interventions with my students. Some of the books we read have some science related topics and I'll explain any concepts that students do not understand.
1210 Activity Points
Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:21 PM
This is a great activity for students to do when there is free time. I can see how they would be able to differentiate different soils by the observations they collect. I would use this in my classroom especially with rocks. There are differences they can find and it would be great on the side activity. This could even branch off to the importance of soil and the job it has with Earth. Then that can lead to the parts of the plant and the plant cycle. Of course, I am looking at this from an elementary teacher point. This is a great idea and I would use it thank you for sharing.
490 Activity Points
Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:36 PM
I keep a variety of animals, plants and materials from other sciences available for students to observe and ask questions about. I find it increases their interest and desire to be in class and focused.
875 Activity Points
Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:05 AM
I think informal play is very important in the classroom that way students can see what they have learned around them. Implementing science throughout the day can help the students start to do informal science on their own. If you just make a comment on what the topic is whenever something comes up then the students will realize that it is apart of their world. They will also start to look for more examples of it around them. For example, If your class is studying the environment and they are going outside,you could just remind the students about what you'll are currently studying and for them to make note of any example of animal habitats outside. I hope this helps!
1065 Activity Points
Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:35 PM
I have been wondering how I can add more science into the classroom so these ideas are awesome. It was helpful to see how everyone else added everyday science into the room!
805 Activity Points
Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:59 PM
I think informal science learning is a great way for students to learn about the subject! When you introduce the concepts in class and explain how they can find it in the real-world setting, they will be much more inclined to learn about it outside of class. Their curiosity will push them to think about the concepts with a more in-depth understandings. Encouraging students to informally learn about the science they learn in class can be a great tool for a teacher.
395 Activity Points
Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:27 PM
For me, informal science is all about formulating theories to answer questions and critical thinking. Encourage your students to observe and question, figure out the answers to questions by themselves at first and so on.
420 Activity Points
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