Vernier Science Education - June 2024
 

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Elementary Science

Time for science

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Stephanie Van Clief Stephanie Van Clief 885 Points

In many of the field schools I have been to, the teachers tell me that they get to science if they can. Science is not as important to them as other subjects or they just do not have the time to teach it. I do not want this to happen to me when I am a teacher and was wondering how more experienced teachers have dealt with this.

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

Here is a link to a forum that addresses this same problem. I hope it helps. http://learningcenter.nsta.org/discuss/default.aspx?tid=gH42P3tahB0_E#56188

Stacey Rutledge Stacey Rutledge 1280 Points

The field placement i am in also has the same mentality. I know my CT makes sure to teach it at least 3 times a week, but she is suppose to make time for it every day, towards the end of the day. It is the last subject she teachers and it often falls through the cracks. I hope to not let this happen when I get my own classroom, so any help or advice you receive would be helpful for me as well.

Kathy Renfrew Kathleen Renfrew 37248 Points

In my classroom science was the focus and all the disciplines were integrated. Mathematics was taught as a separate block also. I personally think this is the "ideal" as the real world isn't broken into time blocks. Even as I write I understand the difficulty of making this happen in today's expectations for education. But if we don't have the conversation we will never get there. Kathy

Beth Dykstra VanMeeteren Beth Van Meeteren 1635 Points

When I taught first grade, I integrated STEM and had STEM centers alongside the literacy centers where I provided open-ended materials for children to investigate force and motion, energy, and life science concepts. The children's investigations in the STEM centers allowed many opportunities for language experience activities where children the children's quest for knowledge led to an intrinsic desire to master the tools to needed express their ideas and find out about others' ideas (literacy). In this dialogic classroom environment, they engaged in scientific argumentation and developed vocabulary at the same time. This provided background knowledge and prior knowledge that enhanced reading comprehension. It enabled children to develop expository text and learn those text structures and in turn, understand other author's expository text more clearly. It worked beautifully. An example of one center can be found at Rampsandpathways.org. When you think about it, the point of human's designing the technology of literacy was because of the human need and desire to communicate about the world (science and social relationships). It makes perfect sense to begin with STEM with young children. Because of their interest in how the world works, we don't have to work hard to have children who are "compliant" in learning to read, but can create a rich educational environment that inspires a child's intrinsic desire to read. Your ability to do this will be contingent on your school's approach to literacy, and how well your administrator trusts the expertise of his/her teachers. I was fortunate to have nurturing administrators when I taught, who allowed me to use my knowledge and expertise to tailor the environment and curriculum to address the interests and needs of my students. If you have such an administrator, capitalize on this as many primary grade teachers do not have this luxury. The current national attention to literacy scores has made integration difficult for primary grade teachers to do. Third grade on up are able to do this more easily, but kindergarten, first, and second grade teachers are increasingly being forced to focus ONLY on reading, and conduct activities that will help children score higher on literacy tests (but not necessarily become life long readers.) Some instructional approaches to literacy are compatible with science inquiry and share many of the same crosscutting concepts, but unfortunately, many states are leaning toward psychometric literacy assessments that focus on discrete, isolated skills. The curriculum then becomes focused on how to score higher on the literacy tests (such as sounding out nonsense words, and reading words fast with no check for comprehension.) The psychometric tests give out the numbers and pie charts that legislators like, but are not compatible with how young children learn.

Christina Guerra Christina Guerra 1500 Points

I have observed my co-teacher use a lot of science books during read aloud time and also during social studies. She will discuss the land forms and climates in the different areas that we are discussing in social studies. I think it helps to cross teach different subjects as often as you can.

Stephanie Matzen Stephanie Matzen 1435 Points

I think that it would help if you make the science real-world for the students. They will want to engage in it more and that will make you as a teacher want to include it more. Setting aside time is also really important. It helps to scheudle it ahead of time and plan for it because then you would want to teach something that you've spent so much time on.

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