Distance Learning

Keeping kids interacting online

Hello everyone!  I am currently an early childhood education student at Penn State.  I was curious as to how everyone is adjusting to online-only instruction and how it's affecting science.  With young children, I feel as though getting them interested in science and helping them learn best is to get them involved and create hands on activities.  How are current teachers still getting them involved over the computer? 

Jordan Wagner
Jordan Wagner
185 Activity Points

For my High School Biology students, we have a nature journal that they update weekly. They create labeled scientific illustrations, and tie in a Cross Cutting Concept of their choice. I give them different things to focus on each week. They need to draw something that is outside, so they have to get out of the house. I've also found that they really enjoy the Seek App, which visually identifies living things. It's pretty fun!

Erik Lucas
Erik Lucas
685 Activity Points

Great question Jordan, I am an elementary education student and this forum gave me some great insight. 

Alejandra Ledesma
Alejandra Ledesma
670 Activity Points

Hi Jordan, 

 

This is a great question I believe that is on everyones minds right now. We have moved to hands on activities and now we are online. As far as assignments go I believe it is tought because we are not sure of the capabilities and materials of each of our students at home. However I think recommending activities to do might be great for them. My students were finishing up planting and growing seeds so I am thinkning about recommending something similar for them. Great post and question I look forward to seeing more responses and recommendations!

Brandon Ramirez
Brandon Ramirez
655 Activity Points

I think with younger students (and middle school students as well in my case) the challenge has been that the digital platforms they see assignments on regularly are becoming repetitive themselves regardless of the topic you're teaching in that platform. My solution has been to take the curriculum outside and try journalistic activities where they need to document nature in their backyard, such as finding different types of leaves and creating a dichotomous key based on what they found. There could even be possibilities for storytelling type assignments where students have to take a picture of an animal they see outside and write a story on what it would do throughout the day. This could be a cool assignment to introduce food chains and ecosystems as well!

Zach Millan
Zach Millan
599 Activity Points

What a great idea, I began to see the repetitive pattern in her assignments in all areas, not just science. Although they are done with the school year, I will take on your idea of journaling and taking it outside during our walks etc. 

Alejandra Ledesma
Alejandra Ledesma
670 Activity Points

I really like that idea, it gets them out of the house. Online only lessons have the tendencay to promote distractions like social media. For older kids, they may even be able to use aps to identify plant and animal species. 

Maura Purcell
Maura Purcell
1250 Activity Points

Hi there, I am currently working with second graders and am able to use google meet to chat with them. I have been doing science experiements over the computer where I do the experiment on my end and ask prompting questions and we discuss the reactions we see in the experiment. I have also found an awesome resource called generationgenius.com where I can do the "Share screen" mode on google and play an educational video/experiment on our meet and pause to talk about what we are watching whenever I want. Students enjoy watching someone else speak and teach them sometimes, so my students have been engaged with this. Mystery doug and mystery science videos are also great resources to incorproate!

Kate Mellon
Kate Mellon
990 Activity Points

Hi Jordan!  For my K-4 science students I took my phone outside and Zoomed from there.  With the help of a co-host, I was able to visit interesting sites in the wild and narrate the experience for my students.  Of course, a decent cell signal is necessary.  I would preview the sites beforehand, and in my mind walk through the half-hour class. Key was having interactive periods where the students would record data (usually that I took and narrated) as well as go into breakout rooms to brainstorm questions, or discuss an observation.  For example, I Zoomed last week from an active beaver pond!  We measured and recorded the diamter of trees felled by the beavers.  Then we walked right over a portion of a dam. I was able to point the camera (phone) at the dam  and students then discussed what they observed in breakout rooms.  It's been awesome!! The crucial element is keeping it interactive.

Ben Wildrick
Ben Wildrick
210 Activity Points

Hello! I am working with 4th grade remotely and did a science lesson to teach about the conservation of matter. I had uploaded videos for the students to watch prior to doing an online video chat related to the content. I then did a virtual video chat on Google Meets where kids got on to interact LIVE and I also recorded the session for students who couldn't get on during the video chat to view after the LIVE chat ended. We did a science experiment where I created slime to demonstrate what conservation of matter is and then we asked/ answered questions during the chat. I also created a record sheet for the students to fill out as we went through the video to fill in the amount of each item we added. They also made predictions and answered questions on the record sheet. The students were very engaged during the lesson as some even used their own materials at home to do the experiment themselves and I had them do fun little things like guess what color I was making the slime. It was a great way for them to still be engaged in science through this transition of remote learning. 

Ashley Gregory
Ashley Gregory
805 Activity Points

I am working with a 5th-grade classroom virtually right now as a student-teacher. I was able to implement a force and motion lesson with our students by giving a list of directions and options for the students to pick and experiment on their own. Then we had a virtual video chat on Google Classroom to hold a discussion about what we did and learned as well as what went right or wrong. This was a good way for students to still be engaged and hands-on while only having to use things they had around the house to demonstrate a force/ motion experiment. With our discussion, we were able to build our sense of community and learn from each other's experiments and mistakes. We then were able to discuss what went wrong and how we may have fixed our problems and had more than one trial. Prior to this lesson, I had students read from their science textbooks and watch videos to gain knowledge of force and motion. Science can still be taught as an educational and engaging way through remote learning by being adjustable and finding what works for your students. 

Katelyn York
Katelyn York
570 Activity Points

I am a 5th-grade science teacher with 120 students. Over the last 9 weeks, we started with about 80% completing assignments. When we finished the quarter last week. We were at 40% of students working. The struggle to keep students engage is real. I have no idea how to keep them engage if this is how we start the new year off. 

Amanda Robin
amanda robin
1395 Activity Points

Hi Jordan,

I am an elementary education student at Florida International University, and I think the question you have posed is a great one. Although summer has begun here in Miami, I was able to observe the interaction my sister who just finished 2nd grade had with her science teacher via virtual class. I can definetly say that students can get very distracted with online courses. A great strategy I saw my sister's science teacher do was assign science activities where the students needed to get up and do things around the house or use household items to create something. For example, my sister had the task of doing a science scavenger hunt where she went around the house/backyard looking for living and non living things. I think through doing thing that are interactive and involve movement and hands on even if it is at home, students will be more interested and not as distracted.

This forum has some great information! Just thought I would share an example I saw first hand, that helped my sister stay motivated and interested in science. 

Alexandra Gomez
Alexandra Gomez
405 Activity Points

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