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General Science and Teaching

Science Starters

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Kathy Biernat Kathy Biernat 5195 Points

I would like to start my classes next year with Science Starters- are there any books or resources that have pre- made ones? IS it better to have totally random topics or should the starters relate to the topic the day before or the day of? Thanks!

Lynnea Shafter Lynnea Shafter 4475 Points

ScienceSpot has some great pre-made starters and even power points in other sections of their site. It's a huge site that even has a Kid Zone.http://sciencespot.net/Pages/starters.html

Kathy Biernat Kathy Biernat 5195 Points

Tina- Thanks so much for all your suggestions! I can't wait to look in to them all!!

Kathy Biernat Kathy Biernat 5195 Points

Thanks - I had found that site - the only site I found. IS this because starters aren't a good idea?

Lynnea Shafter Lynnea Shafter 4475 Points

I just think you have to be really purposeful with the ones you choose so that they lead the students into your activities for the day. A lot of what I find are more quiz type starters instead of higher level Bloom's questions so I only use them periodically.

Kathy Biernat Kathy Biernat 5195 Points

Thanks for your reply and help! I really need SOMETHING for the kids to do when they enter the room - its utter chaos otherwise and I waste time getting them to be ready to learn.

Lynnea Shafter Lynnea Shafter 4475 Points

I totally get it. I go through the same challenge. Good luck :-)

Kathy Biernat Kathy Biernat 5195 Points

Appreciate the support !!! Lonely out here sometimes. :)

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

Kathy, I am a strong advocate for using Page Keeley’s “Uncovering Student Ideas” series as starters. http://www.nsta.org/store/search.aspx?action=quicksearch&text=Uncovering If you do an advanced search in the Learning Center, using “Page Keeley” in the “Author /Conference Presenter,” Individual Resources, All Grade Level and free, you will come up with 12 prompts to look at and use. If you are an NSTA member, these are free as part of your membership. You can also find sample chapters under the details section of each of the books in the bookstore. I scanned all of the prompts, cropped them so the only thing left is the actual prompt itself. I place them 6 – 8 to a page. My middle school students cut them so they each have one to glue into their graphing notebooks. I put the book with the full page under the document camera and freeze it. As students come in, they know they need to read the prompt, quickly write their reply and justify their reasoning in their notebook. After I have attendance taken, there are a couple of things I can do with the prompts. I can either have the share as turn and talks, within their table group of four, or have each of them stand up and share their response with the whole class. While the latter takes more time, it gives them an opportunity to speak in front of the class, a skill they don’t get anywhere else. Once done, I share the correct response as well as read the Science explaining the answer. I expect them to listen as I read to make sure they get the whole story instead of trying to listen for notes that may or may not be critical. I then take out my notebook, and write bulleted notes they copy into their notebooks. While it takes time, it is time well spent. You can align the prompts to units you are studying, or use them to provide information you know you won’t be able to get to, but students need to know, especially for state assessments.

Kathy Biernat Kathy Biernat 5195 Points

Many thanks for all the details - I really appreciate it. I struggle with getting the students on task quickly. Thanks so much.

Paula Webb Paula Webb 875 Points

At the end of last year I started to use group Science starters. Students were energetic and wanted to jump right in, so their starter was a group problem solving activity. A lot of learning happened in the first five minutes and they were teaching themselves. Cooperative learning tended to continue during the class period because they were encouraged to do so. Many times the activities were math related. In a chemistry unit, leading up to chemical formulas, they found a cup of colored chips on their desk. The group of 4 had to write a fraction for each color and calculate the percentage. I was amazed at how many could not do this without direct instruction. Thank goodness for the shift to CC and NGSS!

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

We are required to have "bell work" everyday. Mine are always assessing what we learned the previous day.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Can you elaborate on the ways you have your students assess their previous day's work, Chris?

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