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Food for Thought
I read the article “Food for Thought” by Peggy Ashbrook. In the first section, the article discusses how students fail to make the connection between animals and plants. Animals use plants as a source of food and shelter. Many students claim that they have never eaten a leaf or any plant. When a young student thinks of leaves, the image of leaves on a tree or the season of autumn comes to mind. Young students do not realize that people do consume plants and eat their leaves, not the ones that grow on a tree. Humans digest leaves from vegetables such as lettuce, collard greens and kale. Many young students did not know about the consumption of leaves due to the lack of understanding about where food comes from. Today, many students eat at fast food restaurants which offer processed foods such as hamburgers and French fries. Some students do not think about the gardens that grow potatoes in order to make French fries. To introduce students to the origin of food, Ashbrook (2017) suggests that schools should have a garden for students to grow and harvest vegetables. This hands-on experience is great for students to know how the food on their plate all started in a garden.
The second section gives a lesson in how students can observe animals using plants for either food or shelter on a nature walk. While on the walk, students are to look for signs that show where animals have use plants as a source of food or shelter. Leaves on a bush may have holes in them where a deer nibbled for food. Also, there may be spider webs that show where insects have used the plant for shelter. To record their findings, students can take pictures and write notes down in a notebook. This nature walk activity is one that I would incorporate in my classroom. My elementary students will be interested in finding the animal evidence in nature, rather than just looking at pictures in a textbook.
Source: Ashbrook, Peggy. (2017). Food for Thought. Science and Children, September, 30-31.
The next article I read was “Keys to Teaching the Nature of Science” by William F. McComas. This article addresses science ideas that teachers should teach by for students to truly understand the content they are learning in the classroom. McComas (2004) notes that teachers should emphasize to students that science is subjective. For example, everyone comes up with their own individual observations and predictions. In science, an observation or prediction is neither right or wrong. The hypothesis that is created is rather accepted or rejected.
Another key idea from this article is that science is very creative. The subject of science requires students to use critical thinking and problem solving. It is more to science than just facts and conclusions. The advanced thinking leads to gaining new knowledge. For students to grasp science, they must have an open mind and to not give up on a rejected hypothesis.
Students also should accept that science does not answer every question. In other words, there are limits to what we as a people know in areas of science. For instance, there are scientific theories such as the Theory of Evolution. That theory cannot become a scientific law because no human can prove it. No one living today was around years ago with the caveman. Archeologists can look at fossils from the caveman times but those artifacts do not answer that “how” and “why” questions. I think that the key ideas this article mentioned is crucial for me to address to my future students for them to truly understand the science content.
Source: McComas, William F. (2004). Keys to Teaching the Nature of Science. The Science Teacher, November, 24-27.
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