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General Science and Teaching

Student Teachers and Science

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BRITTANY CAMPBELL Brittany Campbell 2050 Points

I am currently a college student who is in the field one day at week with a group of 3rd graders. I have been with them for about 5 weeks now and have yet to see any science brought into the classroom. It just blows my mind away. I am currently working on a lesson plan I have to teach to the students that will be integrated math and science and I'm a little worried it may not go as well as planned because they haven't been exposed to science at all.Any tips/ideas out there for student teachers on what activities went will, what didn't go well? Thanks!

Bethaney Jones Bethaney Jones 820 Points

I am also in a third-grade classroom and I notice the same thing. Science is like an afterthought since it is not highly tested. My students often say they wish we did science more. I think you should do you best to incorporate science but be sure to discuss it with your teacher.

Brandon Ishikata Brandon Ishikata 330 Points

Brittany, I did a weather lesson with the students and they enjoyed going outside, playing with the thermometers, and seeing a time lapse video of weather. When I lecture at them for too long, they tend to get sqwirmy. Since I have a lot of ELL students in my class, one way I assessed them was through drawing pictures. This gave me the most insight about their science knowledge and they found it fun at the same time.

Edith Heppe Edith Heppe 405 Points

I was in the same boat and mine went horribly. I was presenting an anchoring event and asked the teacher for a 30 minute block to teach it in and hour later I was mouthing the words I'm so sorry to her from across the room. My advise is to stick to one very simple concept. Take it slow, and before the actual lesson do a pre-assessment to find out just how much or how little they do know. This may save you a lot of headache come time to teach your lesson. Plan for it to run longer than you expect, personally I do this with every lesson because they are always so much longer than I imagine they will be. Keep your lesson engaging. Do not talk the whole time and make the lesson relatable so they can think about the lesson in terms of what they have experienced. Model and think out loud. Use different forms of teaching and let them talk to each other about what they are learning. 

Ashmara Williams Ashmara Williams 2235 Points

Hi Brittany, I, myself am also a pre-service teacher. Unfortunately, as you mentioned, I rarely see a large focus on content area science disciplines. You mentioned you were trying to create an integrated lesson plan for a small group of students. What is the learning goal? What would you like the students to know at the end of the lesson? Hope I can help!

Cora Fernandez Cora Fernandez 4540 Points

Hi Brittney, Ashmara is right, science is rarely seen being taught by itself in the classroom. I believe that since the students are not too exposed to science, as you said, you must take into consideration the preconceptions that the students might have about the science concept you are going to teach. Also, be very aware of the background knowledge they have on that concept. You might have to modify your lesson to teach certain concepts they do not know, but should have, before you teach your lesson. Good luck with your lesson, Cora

Amy Jorgensen Amy Jorgensen 425 Points

Hi Brittany! I am a student teacher as well and sadly, I do not see much science in my everyday classroom experience either. Before I plan and teach a science lesson, I have learned that it is a great idea to assess student's prior knowledge on the topic. You can find lots of informal pre-assessments within the learning center if you search for them, or develop your own! Your students may know a lot more about scientific concepts than you know, just based on their everyday experience of the natural world. A pre-assessment would give you an idea of exactly what to plan for before you teach. :)

Daniel Cochrane Jr. Daniel Cochrane Jr. 1280 Points

Hi Brittany, I am in the field as well, one semester from student teaching. I have not seen much science in the classroom either! I leaned about a cool way to teach science and set up lesson plans. It's called the 5 E learning cycle. You have the Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, and Closure. This type of teaching has the Engagement as your hook. The Exploration is the students doing a hands-on activity on their own, Then in the Explanation, you as the teacher introduce new vocabulary to the students. Once the new vocabulary is introduced, you have the students do another activity, while they implement the new vocabulary they learned. It seems like a really good way to get the student's involved. I will be trying this method to my 2nd grade class in the field. I will let you know how it goes. Dan

Robin Willig Robin Willig 5625 Points

Brittany- I am a fifth grade science teacher and I can appreciate, as an elementary teacher, how focused we can be at this level on reading, writing, and math skills/content. The key is to try to integrate the science lesson with the other subjects. I like to start the "Engage" portion of the lesson with the students drawing a picture to answer the lesson question, such as what happens to the particles of matter when something melts. This way we get all the preconceptions or misconceptions out there. Then design a lesson that will answer this question, such as have the students line up like particles of matter vibrating in place in a solid. Now "turn up the heat" and the students start to move faster and away from each other. Next, students can measure the temperature of water while an ice cube melts in it. At the end of the lesson have the students draw a post lesson diagram of what they learned about particle movement when something melts. Start simple with something that will make them feel successful and build from there. Good luck! Robin

Van Phan Van Phan 1535 Points

Hey Brittany! I'm glad that you brought up this question. I agree with you that Science is not being taught in the classroom to its' full potential. In my placement, I see teachers spending a maximum of maybe thirty minutes on the content and I do not think that is ideal. The times that I did see the science lessons being successful was when my CT turned the lesson into a big discussion group for one of his lessons. The students really enjoyed it because they all got to include their input, thoughts, and ideas, and they also all learned from each other! I hope this activity helps you!

Gabrielle Gutierrez Gabrielle Gutierrez 4035 Points

I think maybe you should create a conceptual flow and do a pre-assessment based on the flow that you create to determine where the students may be in terms of understanding the concept and being successful in your lesson that you have created. I'm currently still in college but when we are doing our field assignments we have followed this similar pattern when working with students. I have felt that it is very beneficial as it gives teachers a starting point and also allows teachers to identify misconceptions to better cater the lesson to the individual needs of the students.

Diana Ponce Diana Ponce 1615 Points

I am currently student teaching, and in a second grade classroom. My class is the only one that has a blocked schedule, because it is a bilingual class, so I see a lot of science being taught. The general ed classes are a little different. I guess it's hard for teachers to find time and plan for everything, but each subject should be given it's correct amount of time. A lesson that had worked well in my class is making oobleck, to teach about the states of matter.

George Mehler George Mehler 1360 Points

Hey Brittany, Unfortunately it is a sad reality that science tends to get thrown by the wayside in many classrooms. There is so much to fit in to any given school day, and some teachers find it difficult to incorporate science. An important concept to keep in mind is cross subject learning. Incorporate science into a lesson on writing! Or something similar to that. I have posted a link below to the YouTube channel that I have been developing called FunScienceDemos that has hundreds of free, common core aligned, science video demonstrations for every idea that young learners should know. Look into it and subscribe! Best of luck, Dr. George Mehler Ed.D., Temple University

Neena Paul Neena Paul 1335 Points

Hi Brittany, I think it would really depend on what kind of science you are trying to integrating into the math lesson and the grade level the students are yet. If you wanted to talk about sequencing in Math you could probably use anything that moves through stages in science. However, if you were to introduce a new math topic and integrate it with new science concepts as well it may be difficult for your students to absorb. If you find a way to do this effectively, I think it can be wonderful! Good Luck!

Jane Mendez Jane Mendez 2840 Points

Hi Brittany,   I too am a college student majoring in Education and when I visit schools to do my field hours I barely witness other teachers teach science to the students. I feel like the states standardize tests places so much emphasis on reading, writing, and math that science falls by the wayside. I think your best option will be to teach your students using a 5E lesson plan. What’s great about a 5E lesson plan is that you present your students with an investigative question, where your students must answer through an activity (experiment). Students will then reach their answers individually and in many circumstances reach difference answers and that's actually encouraged, as long as they can explain their logic for reaching said answer. Maybe you should try using a science topic that students have already learned about or have been exposed to such as the states of matter: gas, liquid, and solid.   Best of luck in your field school and with your students.   Jane

Kathleen Castellon Kathleen Castellon 1085 Points

This a common conversation I have with my fellow student teachers. While some of them have never seen science taught in their placements others see it being pushed to a quick 10 minute activity to just each vocabulary. I am blessed with my placement where science is taught equally with the other subjects so I would suggest any chance you do have the opportunity to teach science you incorporate a lot of modeling, experiments, and hands on activities to show your students. They love trying to figure out what just happened and I can imagine your 3rd graders enjoy using their imagination any chance they get. Good luck!

Anacristina Torres Anacristina Torres 2245 Points

I've noticed the same at different schools I have interned at. I'm also a college student doing field hours and what I have tried to do is find science lesson that incorporates things they experience in their daily life. for example, I taught push and pull to kindergarteners and gave them examples such as pushing someone on a swing, opening the door, or tucking their chair. This way the students understand that science isn't just for the classroom. You can try to do an experiment with measurements to include math. There are many different activities that can be found online which can incorporate this!

Jessica Kim Jessica Kim 370 Points

Hi Brittany, Subjects such as Social Studies and Science are not seen regularly as Math and Language Arts due to its demand with Common Core. I feel the most important thing to consider when teaching science is making sure all students are very engaged. Many times when the activity is hands on and possibly related to their personal life in some way it tends to go very well because the students are so engaged and excited to learn. Hope this helps! Good luck!

Hi Brittany, I am currently a student teacher in a sixth grade classroom and I have not seen any science instruction. My students are also deprived of Social Studies so I think it is a shame that they do not get science. I had the chance of doing a science lesson with my students as one of my assignments. It was a per-assessment anchoring event for a unit. I learned that my students had many knowledge gaps with scientific content about to natural selection and heredity. My students did not know what natural selection was and said that they had never even heard the term. I was very disappointing this semester because I wanted to see good science instruction. Hopefully I see more of it next semester. Jessica :)

Kim Duba Kim 380 Points

My Third Graders LOVE science, I was lucky enough as a student teacher to take over science and I found it very rewarding because all of my students were excited and engaged!  I started off teaching students about animal adaptations, and to my surprise many of them knew a lot about animals!  I think that if you can connect lessons to their everyday lives and try to word it in a fun and meaningful way your students will LOVE it and so will your guide teacher.  This could lead to more science within your classroom! Good Luck!

Maria Avella Maria Avella 500 Points

Nowadays, it is upsetting how science is fading away due to the fact that teachers are teaching students how to pass the standardized tests.  However, bringing his new science lesson into a class that does not deal with science much should be very exciting.  Since it is new to the students, they will be very interested in it.  Doing a hands-on activity that relates to the lesson will be great.  It will ensure that the students are having fun while learning at the same time.  Another thing to keep in mind is to use the 5 "E" approach, engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate.  This will help students to contribute their ideas and then find out if their predictions were correct.  However, in this approach they are figuring it out on their own without terminology.  Once the students understand the concept, the teacher can introduce the terms.  Science is best taught when it is related to everyday activity.

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