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Elementary Science

Creating a Environment Promotes Informal Science Learning

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Whitney McKnew Whitney McKnew 600 Points

I am a student at UMBC and we have been discussing ways to incorporate science into a students environment in informal ways. Some things my class and I were able to come up with was: Play music about science Have plants growing in your classroom Place poster on the walls that ask scientific questions Science books or magizines offered in the classroom library Set up a science center that changes every week that students can visit once they finish there work Create a classroom garden if the space is available on the playground Have a pet reptile or mouse in the room We had a lot of fun expolring these ideas, but I feel like there must be so many more we didn;t think of! Does anyone else have any good ideas for promoting informal science learning within the classroom?

Kendra Young Kendra Young 17180 Points

Hi Whitney,

You posed some excellent questions. I did a quick search through the Learning Center and was surprised to find so many resources on informal science. Following this link should take you to the search results.

Let us know what other ideas you and your class come up with.

Thanks,
Kendra

Sara Kinyon Sara Kinyon 2100 Points

Whitney, Our school just started a garden. Each classroom has a garden bed. I had each student’s plant something and they put a popsicle stick with their number to mark their plant. They love checking on how their plant is doing. It made the garden so much more personal. I've also tied it into classroom jobs (watering) and it is in a place student's can observe it everyday. I love hearing the students talk about their plants on their way to class. Some teachers are also trying to put together an aquaponics system in our courtyard. This would be a great way for students to learn many new things about science. I love the ideas your class has thought of! Science seems like an easy thing to incorporate into everyday activities without lessons.

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

If you have an extra table available put used appliances, electronic equipment, etc. on the table and let students take the items apart with screw drives, pliers, etc. Students see that science is a part of their daily life without having to take additional class time. They can explore the table when they have free time. I once had a student who would never do his school work, but when I created a table like this he would do his work for 30 minutes and could have 5 minutes at the table.

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 36288 Points

Sara, ilike your garden ideas. I think i would go even further by having students measure and ollet data about their plants. Betty, I like your idea of appliances and tools. maybe you could give them raw materials to see what they might build.

Adah Stock Adah Stock 101510 Points

Hi All: I wrote a grant for a 125 gallon fish tank which the Science Club helped in it's upkeep. I put it in the hall so students passing on the second floor could look at it between classes. My principal told me how pretty it looked but would not let my club spend money on feeding the fish because she called it a decoration. That is when I corrected her ignorance. I told heer that the fish tank was an ecosystem or an environment exclusive to the organism in the tank and by seeing the interaction students were learning science. Get a small ten galloon tank and let you students watch what happens. This is a relatively cheap and easy to care for environment. Adah

Doris Padilla Doris Padilla 3345 Points

I am a student at UMBC and we have been discussing ways to incorporate science into a students environment in informal ways. Some things my class and I were able to come up with was: Play music about science Have plants growing in your classroom Place poster on the walls that ask scientific questions Science books or magizines offered in the classroom library Set up a science center that changes every week that students can visit once they finish there work Create a classroom garden if the space is available on the playground Have a pet reptile or mouse in the room We had a lot of fun expolring these ideas, but I feel like there must be so many more we didn;t think of! Does anyone else have any good ideas for promoting informal science learning within the classroom? I really enjoyed your ideas. I remember doing a lot of these in elementary school as well as middle school. Betty, I loved your idea of putting some tolls such as electronic equipment ,used appliances ,screw drivers, etc on an empty table to shows students that science is very important and it is part of their daily life. These activities are all very nice and they are great ideas I can use when becoming a teacher. Many people might think these ideas are great for only elementary level but I think they are also also great for both middle and high school.

Caryn Meirs Caryn Meirs 26235 Points

Whitney and all - what great ideas have been generated here!! My colleague and I put together science nights and science Saturdays. We invite families and set up telescopes, work through experiment stations and take hikes. We hope to expand the project to a monthly regularly scheduled program for the beginning of the next school year. We have alternated our emphasis from target groups and grades to faculty and their kids - trying to get everyone involved!

Marie Jean Marie Jean 3545 Points

You have great ideas. I really like the ideas of incorporating music into your classrooms. There are great songs that you can use that is related to science. One activity you can do is after teaching a lesson, for example on insects/bugs you can have the students come up with a five line songs related to the lesson. You can give them a melody or allow them to come up with their own melody. I actually did this activity as an assignment for one of my classes. It was really interesting. I am not teaching yet, this is an idea from a music class that I'm taking.

Kathy Sparrow Kathy Sparrow 47692 Points

I agree with Marie and Whitney: music is a great way to reinforce science concepts with students. Just think about how students know all the lyrics to popular songs. In December, my students would make up songs using science words/concepts to the tunes of Christmas songs. Another idea is to use art as a vehicle for expression of science concepts. We would have a Bio-Art contest in the spring for the students’ “creations.”

Angela Cho Angela Cho 1350 Points

I am also researching in ways to incorporate informal learning in classrooms. I gained a lot of insight when I volunteered at the Maryland Science Center and they had a lot of cool ideas. I think the main thing is how to involve the students in a way that they will really remember and have fun at the same time.

Yvette Ponzoa Yvette Ponzoa 3455 Points

There are some really great ideas here! I love the idea of having a science center that changes based on what it being taught. That's a really good way to reinforce the concepts. Also love the garden idea. There are so many lessons that can be incorporated into that. I definitely plan to bring my guitar into the classroom in order to make music part of the learning process. It's a handy (and fun) way to get the kids to remember important information.

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