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Elementary Science

Lots of Science, Not A Lot of Time

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Lacey Givens Lacey Givens 1255 Points

Hello! My name is Lacey and I am currently working on my masters in Early Childhood Education, with initial licensure. I am not in the classroom yet but from what I have gathered from my first-grade practicum, there isn't a ton of time allocated for science daily. With all of the standards that teachers have to meet today, I personally believe there isn't enough time to dive into each discipline. 

So, what are some tips you all have about working science into different disciplines? ELA and math are really what is focused on in the classroom I'm working with now. I am interested to find out someways to incorporate science activities into these subjects whenever possible.  


Ashley Darling Ashley Darling 2025 Points


I am an elementary education major at the University of Northern Iowa, so while I have not taught in my own classroom I have learned a few ways to integrate science in my methods of teaching science class. Math and science are very interconnected and can be worked with closely. One way that I have been taught is to have the students do a science experiment, related to a science standard, where they must collect data. Then to integrate the math standards you take that data that was collected and create tables or graphs to then be analyzed. This I think is the easiest and simplest way to integrate science and math together.

Literacy and science can also be easily integrated through the use of books. The NSTA resources page has a ton of resources on trade books that can be used that have a clear connection between literacy and science. To focus on the other side of ELA, students can be asked to research or do a science experiment and then write something, report or paper, to focus on an ELA standard.

Again I have not had my own classroom, so I have not had the experience of actually doing these lessons with kids, but I hope this helps!


Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

Ashley has some really great ideas and I agree with her. There are many connections to be made to science. Sadly, science does get short-changed often. Bring current events into class as much as you can. Even if you have 5 minutes you can spark their interest with scientific phenomena! What would happen if I saved an orange seed from lunch and planted it? What is fog? Why is the grass wet early in the morning evening though it didn't rain? Why do raccoons have rings on their tails? Why don't we see bats during the day? Whatever you are reading, I'm pretty sure you can find a science concept to connect with.

Stephanie Sterbenz Stephanie Sterbenz 1485 Points

Hello Lacey,

I currently am a student at the University of Northern Iowa. I am taking a science methods course and we have talked a lot about integrating the core classes math, reading, writing, and even social studies in to your science lessons because yes there just isnt enough time. Something that you could try is to start your lesson with science and then when that time is over and you move over subjects you could write about what they learned or if you are doing science with numbers you could then work on that aspect of it. Another thing we did in my methods course was break up the 5E lesson plan in to five or four different days that way you arent trying to get a whole lesson done in such a short amount of time. You can add standards from the core standards for the grade you are teaching right in to your science lesson and also follow those along with your science standards. 

I hope this helps.

Makensy Stump Makensy Stump 974 Points

I am currently a senior majoring in Early Childhood Education, and from my previous experience through my field placements, I have also noticed that there isn't a lot of time allocated for science daily. From reading the other comments and from my own curiousity and research, my tip and suggestion for you is to try and integrate science through nonfiction texts in reading and phonics/word work. Kelli Sanders from Sanders In Second on Instagram has great insight and ideas on incorporating science and nonfiction texts into her classroom. Another tip I have seen teachers try is implementing an interactive notebook. These are a great way to incorporate science into writing, and it also allows you to integrate multiple subjects into one notebook that students can interact with and reference.

As I head into my senior year of student teaching in first grade, I want to make it a priority of mine to implement as much science instruction and learning as I can. I think it is important for students to develop a fascination and love for science early on and build upon  their interest throughout fun and engaging activities and lessons. I hope this helps, and I look forward to hearing about more helpful tips and suggestions as they're shared.

Alexandria Brubaker Alexandria Brubaker 1155 Points

Hello Lacey,

I am currently in my last semester of my program in Early Childhood Education. I am in a first grade classroom where it is difficulut for us to find time to do science instruction. I have learned that there are many ways that science can be implemented in the smallest ways. Cross-curricular is the easiest way that I have found to add some sciecne into the classroom. I have done writing passages about an experiment we did as a class and I also added some stem projects that included science instruction. During easter, I worked with the students on an Easter Egg Rocket and the students had to make prediction on what they thought was going to happen. After we finished the experiment, I had the students write in their journals what they learned during this experiment. Science can be intertwinde with math and ELA standards! the NSTA resources are also a big help when figuring out different science activities to do in the classroom!

I hope this helps in some way!

Alayna Treadway Alayna Treadway 1050 Points

I have also seen a lack of science teaching in the elementary grades. There often is not time for it and other things seem more important. Since elementary students do not take state tests over science in the elementary grades, it is pushed off. Science is important though! The 5th grade science teacher that I am student teaching with now discussed with me the problems with science not having an important place in the school day until later grades. The next school I am student teaching at is starting a program for reading that uses books to incorporate social studies and science concepts. I love this idea and can not wait to see how it goes!

Jamison Bowlds Jamison Bowlds 1196 Points

I am currently in school aswell to be an elementary school teacher. What I have observed from my recent observation placements is the best way to incoorporate science with younger kids is to find books that will relate to a certain experiement or science topic. The students could also have a certain writing assignment that has to do with the science topic in the book. For example, I recently observed a 1st grade class on the first day of school and they read the book 'My Mouth is a Volcano' by Julia Cook. After they read this book, the teacher used it to discuss volcanos, the important of keeping mean words to yourself and talking only when you are supposed to be talking. All the first grade classes went outside to discuss volcanos and did the mentos/coke experiment. This book allowed the teacher to incoorporate basic rules of the classroom, experiments and volcanos.  

Linda Stokes Linda Stokes 1260 Points

Hello Lacey,

I hope things are going well for you. Congratulations for entering the education career!!!! You are right! There is not enough time to do the science and it is a lot of science around us. I do not agree with the way the education department set up what to teach and when to teach it. Each subject should be important and equal, but you and I know that is not the case. The focus is ELA and Math, you can incorporate the science and social studies as well. I usually combine the science with the ELA. For example, you can have a passage on what you are learning and then the skills you are teaching in ELA can be pull from that passage. That is the same for the social studies as well. Do not work harder, but smarter. I hope this helps. Happy teaching and learning!!!

Jegego Itigadom Jegego 100 Points

Hey Lacey! I totally feel your struggle. Science often gets squeezed out when there's a mountain of standards to cover. But you're right, infusing science into ELA and math can be an awesome way to sneak it in (and make learning way more thrilling!).

Here are a few media-fast ideas to get you started:


Science-fiction stories: Dive into dystopian worlds or alien adventures! Analyze characters' actions through a scientific lens, or have students write their own sci-fi narratives incorporating real scientific concepts.
Poetry for STEM: Read 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' by Robert Frost and discuss the scientific processes described. Or, challenge students to write their own science-themed poems, using figurative language to explain phenomena.
Biographic book reports: Choose scientists or inventors as subjects! Students can learn about their discoveries while practicing research and presentation skills.

Nature scavenger hunts: Set challenges based on specific measurements (find 5 leaves smaller than your thumb), geometric shapes (identify triangles in plants), or data collection (count different bird species).
Coding for robots: Use simple coding platforms to program robots to navigate obstacle courses or simulate animal behavior.
Building bridges: Challenge students to design and build bridges using limited materials, learning about weight distribution and structural integrity.
These are just a few sparks to ignite your creativity! Remember, the key is to make connections between the subjects and spark curiosity. And don't forget to have fun with it!

Alison Becicka Alison Becicka 3120 Points

Hello, I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa and may have some of the same suggestions for you. In my experience, I have never been able to experience a science lesson in any of my field experiences due to science being pushed until the end of the day and then always being overlooked and pushed back yet again by students needing extra assistance in reading, writing, or math. I think one of the biggest things you can do in order to make sure you have time for science is to integrate it. This can easily be done during writing time if you present the students with a problem and an inquiry question, and especially during reading if you present them with nonfiction texts. Hope this helps you some!

Pamela Dupre Pam Dupre 92369 Points

Bravo, Alison! This is a very important conversation we need to be having at all elementary schools possibly across the country. The schedule has time alloted for science and the perception is, science is being taught on a daily basis. The reality looks like that may not be the case. It's also very telling when student get to middle school and have no background in science content. I have something I like to call my little bag of tricks. When I may have 5 free minutes, I engage students in hands on science that takes very little prep, I just have to be aware and looking for that moment to tie in a science lesson. If there is fruit in the cafeteria one day, I ask the students if they think we could grow a lemon, orange, apple tree with the seeds. I have a few students take the plastic cups in their plates and walk around the table collecting the seeds. Then we talk about how to germinate the seeds. Even if we are not on that topic at the moment, it becomes an experiment along the way with whatever else we are learning. 

Haley Dicke Haley Dicke 985 Points

Hi! I am will be entering my senior year this fall and have been in many early childhood classrooms where science was either taught daily or barely discussed. In the classroom where science was taught daily, the teacher had a lesson incorrporated within the daily lesson plan. I think that the first step in including something in the classroom is to start by adding it to your lesson plan or your to do list. We as teacher create week long lessons plans, making sure to cover all of the math and reading standards that given week, so do the same with the science standards. I believe that even 20-30 minutes of science is better than no science in an early childhood education classroom. Students need to be able to experiment and learn, and science allows both of those. So my advice would be to start making science apart of your day, and eventually it will naturally flow within the school day schedule. 

Sara Whitehead Sara Whitehead 1275 Points

Hi Lacey!

I am in my final semester of my Early Childhood Education program at Wright State University. I am placed in a third-grade classroom, and I feel your pain! It is rare that we have enough time to incorporate science instruction into a regular school day. Typically, we only spend 10-15 minutes each day teaching science. My cooperating teacher has helped me identify ways to intertwine science instruction into various other subjects. I have had a lot of success getting ideas through the help of NSTA resources as well. I was able to create a cross-curricular science unit earlier this spring in which our class planted radish seeds and tracked their growth. This activity allowed me to include several math standards focusing on measurement and data, as well as ELA standards. Students kept a science journal in which they documented and wrote about the changes their plant was making. They also made predictions in their science journals. I find math and ELA standards to be the easiest to manipulate and incorporate science instruction.

I hope this was helpful for you! 

Justice Taylor Justice Taylor 1155 Points

The best way to incorporate science with little time is adding it to other lessons, such as math, reading, english, etc. Science can be incorporated into any lesson with a little creativity. I agree with Jamison, books help lead the discussion of certain topics and then you can incorporate a mini hands-on activity to go along with the book or that specific lesson that you are teaching that day. Science doesn't have to be taught by itself in a classroom, sometimes you run out of time and do not have time for what is planned; therefore, make time to incorporate it into your other lessons so that the students can gain that type of knowledge as well as gain other knowledge in a different subject as well. Cross-curriculum is amazing and the things you can do with it is beyond me!


Julie Ramirez Julie Ramirez 570 Points

Hello Lacey,  timeline of important scientific discoveries is a great way to incorporate science and history. In addition, science apps and online games make it easy to blend science with technology. Finally, language arts and science can be combined by having students read or write science poems or stories.


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