Activities Linking Science With Math, K-4

NSTA Press Book (also see downloadable pdf version of this book)

Science does not exist in a vacuum and, therefore, shouldn’t be taught that way. In that spirit, Activities Linking Science With Math, K-4, is a hands-on guide for preservice and inservice elementary school teachers who want to connect science instruction with other areas of study—including visual arts, social sciences, language arts, and especially math.

The 20 discovery-based and academically rigorous activities provided in this volume enrich students’ awareness of the world around them, encourage their natural curiosity, and promote the development of their problem-solving skills. The lessons—such as "Digging Into Soil," "Exploring the Mysteries of Fingerprints," and "What Makes a Boat Float?"—are teacher friendly, too, requiring no advanced expertise in any subject area and using only inexpensive and easily accessible materials. Each includes a list of needed materials, a step-by-step procedure, discussion questions, and assessment techniques.

Activities align with the latest national standards for both science and math and cover topics from all scientific disciplines.

  • Elementary
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  • on Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:40 PM

This is an excellent activity book for the teacher of science in Grades K-4. Yet, it is more than an activity book. It provides an instructional framework that is modeled in each of the complete lesson/activity plans. The framework ties directly to inquiry-based learning. The author focuses the teacher’s attention on the students, prompting teachers to “take your cues from them (the students)” (Eichinger, 2009, p. 5). Furthermore, the author focuses the teacher’s attention on clear learning objectives—objectives that are aligned with national standards. This book is a resource that is meant to be adapted to a specific school environment, and provides many examples of adaptations for specific learners. Activities Linking Science with Math, K-4 provides, within each of the 20 activities, numerous ideas for purposeful exploration, meaningful discussion, authentic assessment, and further thought. All of the activities are applicable to Grades 3 to 4, and 90% of the activities are applicable to Grades K-2 as well. Most of the activities can be student-lead or teacher-lead, adjustable to the needs of a specific classroom. The activities allow the students hands-on experience with practical and thought-provoking subjects in science, and link science to simple and applicable mathematical principles. Some of the exciting activities guide the students in: understanding the function of the eye by creating a model, exploring botany by dissecting and stamping with fruits and vegetables, uncovering geological differences by digging into soil, learning to love science by making collections from nature, recognizing patterns in alphabet and number shapes, and identifying similarities and differences in texture. The activities presented in this book are engaging to students. Meaningful discussion ideas are provided for each activity. The discussion questions are open-ended, allowing students to think for themselves; allowing room to debate in groups. As an example, Activity #14 (entitled “Digging into Soil) prompts students with the question, “How can you tell the difference between the different soil components?” Pondering this question helps students synthesize their hands-on learning. They will think about particle size, color, and feel; and what makes dirt different. Multiple questions are provided for each activity. Ideas for authentic assessment are presented both in descriptive form and in the form of a rubric. The rubric could be used “as-is” by the teacher, or could be adjusted to specific classroom needs. All of the assessments focus on whether the students demonstrated true understanding of the scientific and mathematical concepts. The assessments identify student performances either during the activity or during the discussion. On example assessment from the digging into soil activity is, “Could students reach meaningful conclusions about the differences between the three different samples?” The author proposes that student understanding may be assessed via informal observations, formal discussions, or journaling. Assessment is an integral part of the experiences provided in this book. Finally, included in every activity are multiple opportunities to extend student learning. This is accomplished by proposing future investigations. For example, the digging into soil activity proposes, “Students can collect and compare soil samples from different locations.” This specific investigation leads students to consider greater diversity. Perhaps the greatest contribution of this book is that it provides the teacher with ideas; not just ideas, but very detailed explorations associated with each idea. What’s more, these ideas are tied to NSES Standards for science and NCTM Standards for mathematics, so a teacher can be very purposeful with each learning experience. This book proves to be a very valuable resource in leading students in exploration and achieving inquiry-based learning.

Donald Albin Jr.  (Carlisle, PA)
Donald Albin Jr. (Carlisle, PA)

$24.32 - NSTA Members

$30.40 - Nonmembers

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