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STEM programs | Posted in STEM
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I don’t believe that this should be thought of as a new concept because we teach students science and math almost every day, and they encounter these subjects every day. Students walk outside, and there’s science all around them. Students use math every day to pay for drinks or food, simple addition or subtraction, and counting. They use technology every day too with cell phones, laptops, Ipads, etc. These topics aren’t hard for the students to learn because they already know things about them and encounter them every day. We just need to turn them into an educational teaching that promotes higher thinking.
I would implement STEM within my class by having my Kindergarten students work on simple yet, challenging experiments. For example, my students need to build a bridge for 21 elephant counters. All of my students know how to count to 100, and they all know how to make and build things like bridges, towers, cutouts, etc. Now they need to use trial and error to see if what they think works (science). They would then need to count how many elephants they can fit (math) on the bridge they built (engineering). In the end, the teacher can help the students record their finding on video or add the audio to a picture using an Ipad (technology).
Chem for those who do not like it | Posted in Chemistry
I always do an inventory of my students' interests at the start of the year and then try to tie concepts to their interests. We read an article on the first day about chemistry all around them. I've also had them write questions that they want answered about their world (for example: why does orange juice taste differently after brushing your teeth) and use those student-generated questions as guides to reach those students who don't show as much interest in Chemistry. Here is a link to the "Why Study Chemistry?" article. http://msgluckmann.webs.com/HP%20Chem%20Spring%20project%202016.pdf
Inquiry-Based Learning in Elementary School | Posted in Elementary Science
I believe that inquiry based learning is also extremely beneficial for students especially at the lower elementary grades. Like mentioned by others, this type of learning helps the students think for themselves. There are also different types of inquiry based learning, depending on how much direction you would like to give the students. If you are going to completely hand over the reins to the students this is called an open inquiry. In this inquiry the students will be in charge of coming up with a question/problem, procedure, and results/ analysis. This would be a great way to get the students to think creatively and problem solve. However, for the younger students it could be hard for them to come up with everything on their own. So, for this age group I would recommend a structured inquiry. For this, you as the teacher would come up with the question/problem, and the procedure for everyone to do. Then the students would have to analyze and reason as to why these things occurred. In my science methods class we did an experiment called "dancing raisins for our structured inquiry. We were given the question of, "Why do raisins, when added to a cup of sparkling water float to the top of the cup?" We were also given the procedure of putting five raisins in two cups with the same amount of liquid, one with sparkling water and one with regular water. Then it was our job to analyze why it was that the raisins floated in the sparkling water. I think that this would be a great idea of a structured inquiry for younger elementary grades. You can structure it, but still gets them thinking!
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