Carolina Biological OSE - July 2024
 

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Elementary Science

Science in a small space

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Julie Niemzyk Julie Niemzyk 690 Points

Hi everyone! This semester I am lucky to be able to teach my science lessons in a large science lab with plenty of space for students to engage in hands on activities, large equipment that can be used by students, sinks, and much more. However, I realize that this is not the reality of most schools. What are some tips for teaching science (especially "messier" topics involving water or other materials) in a small classroom without sinks or much room for students to engage in hands on activities that require large tools or lots of room? Thanks!

Kristi Brockschmidt Kristi Brockschmidt 2440 Points

One things I've done in our small classroom is move some of the science outside. Some of the messier activities (like planting seeds) definitely work better outside. I've also done flubber, clouds, & evaporation demonstrations outside. Would that be an option for you?? If you have to be inside here's some ideas, the size of your class may determine how effective each of these might be: I've used plastic trays (like you get at the dollar store) as a 'place setting' for each kid. Hopefully they could keep their supplies, bits, dust, whatevers on the tray itself. This works great if you anticipate a potential for a little 'overflow' on some type of activity. I would try consider setting up a 'handwashing' type station. Maybe a couple of big 'tubs' on the table that you would set up that students would bring their dirty dishes too. You could also try and set up a 'group' setting with one big table set on top of a plastic table cloth, and then the table covered with a plastic table cloth. As for cleaning desks and hands you could also consider paper towels & basic cleaning supplies. Good luck!

Most definitely science outside! teaching in the outdoors is one of the best ways for students to be hands on scientists and learn through doing. If your school has a large grassy area, then science could be taught there and everyone can bring towels to sit on and get out of the classroom for a bit. Sometimes getting out of the classroom is exciting for the students and it is just what they need to understand a topic if they can see it first handedly. Goodluck!

Kifton Vanemon Kifton Vanemon 660 Points

There are so many activities that can be done outside. The science class that I have been able to sit in on the past few days go outside at least once a week and do some sort of science related activity. This weekend it rained a bunch which created a lot of standing water. This was a perfect opportunity to talk about evaporation and the water cycle!

Katherine Barnhart Katherine Nenner 255 Points

What about engaging some of these messier activities in centers, so you are dealing with smaller groups and thus, smaller messes? I'm not sure what your lessons are and how that would fit into your plans, but maybe breaking down into a center type rotation might help with the clean up. Good luck!

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