Vernier Science Education - June  2024


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Elementary Science

Teaching Science Lesson for the First Time

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Sydney Brown Sydney Brown 180 Points

Hi! I am a preservice teacher and will be teaching my first science lesson to a first grade class soon and was wondering if anyone had any advice for first timers? Is there a favorite lesson you may have, specifically for a first grade class? How do I get the class excited for a science lesson? Thank you!

Megan Doty Megan Doty 11847 Points

Hi Sydney, Welcome to the teaching profession! We hope your first lesson is an absolute success. I found a few resources that may be of help as you are starting your career - if you need anything else, please reply and let me know! First, Science Objects help to refresh your background knowledge on the specific content you will be teaching. You can find a list of our Science Objects here: Feel free to select whichever topic you plan to teach or need in the future! I also found a few resources discussing different ideas already used in first grade classrooms. Do you think you could implement any of these? Again, please let us know if we can help with anything else. Best of luck, and be sure to let us know how it went! -Megan

Chloe Lopez Chloe Lopez 220 Points

These are great resources to use in the classroom. My advice is to be confident and show that you are ready. I think a class can notice when the teacher is not prepared and nervous. For a class to be excited the teacher has to show excitement. Have fun with what you are doing. If you think you mess up its ok. Just keep going and stay positive. Best of Luck!

Madison Moburg Madison Moburg 3719 Points

Hi Sydney, I am finishing my last year of school right now before going into student teaching. I am currently in my methods of teaching science course. I don't have a ton of experience but I did just teach a lesson to a second grade classroom and thought you could use some of my advice that I have for myself for next time. I taught a lesson on sinking and floating. They loved it because it was hands on. The activity was for students to hypothesis which items they thought were going to sink or float and explain why, then experiment what each does and talk about why. While I was teaching this, there were a handful of things I wish I would have thought and been more prepared for. These include: 1. The class was split up into 4 teams since I only had 4 tubs of water. I wish I would have covered what was expected for using teamwork in this experiment and maybe assign roles. (1 person to put objects in water, 1 person to dry off objects, 1 person to record, etc.) They could even rotate so they all get the chance to do each. There were a couple groups that couldn't agree on who was doing what so this is something I wish I would have been more prepared for so it didn't become a distraction and waste time. 2. I wish I would have set ground rules right when I got there. Some include not touching anything until I say so, not throwing objects, not playing in the water, not breaking play-dough up, etc. 3. Lastly, I wish I would have led the groups by dropping the same object into the water all at the same time instead of letting them go and letting things to get a little chaotic. I hope some of my advice I have for myself will help open your eyes for preparing lessons for your first graders. I learned it's crucial to slow down during science lessons and to think of every letting detail that the students might do during the lesson. -Madie M.

Alex Fox Alex Fox 4042 Points

One thing I've learned in my methods to science class this semester is getting your students engaged by showing them some sort of phenomena. By showing them this, they're engaged and want to know more about the topic. As far as other advice for teaching, make sure you can effectively manage a classroom. Classroom management might be both the hardest and the most important aspect of becoming a teacher. If you can do that, you're already half way there!

Abby Scheel Abby Scheel 2520 Points

Hi, Sydney!

I'm in a science methods course right now. With student teaching coming less than a year from today, I'm constantly thinking about whether or not I'll be ready to effectively teach my class. It's daunting, especially when you have 4+ years of classes and pedagogical approaches under your belt, but you're not sure how to properly implement it. To build on the anxiety, science is definitely the content area I have the least confidence in. So, HUGE thank you to everyone commenting on this post! Whether you're sharing helpful advice or seconding the nervousness you have, yourself, as a preservice teacher. It's cool to see this community come together to willingly help one another.

I noticed this post is from 2017... so, Sydney, I hope your first few years of teaching have been spectacular! I'll be looking out for updates. :)

Ashalenia Graham Ashalenia Graham 985 Points

Hi! I am senior in college and my very first lesson I ever taught was a science lesson for first grade! The lesson I taught was about the parts of a plant.  In the beginning of the lesson I had students discuss and label with me the parts of the human body and through that I was able to make those connections to the parts of a plant.  After labelling the parts of the plant and discussing what each parts function is, the students made their own plant with various materials such as cups, coffee grounds, pipecleaners, construction paper, etc.  At the end of the lesson the students presented their plants in groups and were able to name the parts of their plant.  I still really like this lesson and I think it is a great lesson to get students engaged and excited.  However, I would change a few things looking back.  First graders are still pretty young and the idea of having them soley responsible for constructing their own plant proved to be rather challenging and time consuming (given I had 40 minutes)... I would maybe split this into a two day lesson or pre cut out the flowers/pre bag all items in order to make it easier for the students to make the flower.  I hope this helps!!

Amanda Papp Amanda Papp 2035 Points

I feel as if science in its self is exciting and students will pick up on that. I hope your first lesson went well!

Erica Hernandez Erica Hernandez 20 Points

Wow, I was just looking at the helpful list of great resources. I have already reviewed some of the links and they are great. Thanks for sharing, as always your experience is a treasure, much appreciated. New Member to NSTA Erica Hernandez

Megan Doty Megan Doty 11847 Points

Hi Erica, I'm glad that the resources were helpful! If you ever are in need of additional resources or have a general question about teaching, you can always post in the forums to get feedback from other users. We hope to see you around the forums! -Megan

Emily Lamaze Emily Lamaze 805 Points

I couldn't agree more! These resources are so beneficial and will 100% help when I start my student teaching next year!

Sara Pierce Sara Pierce 3922 Points

Those are some really great resources! I am following this as I am student teaching in the Spring and can use any ideas to incorporate in the classroom.

Sydney McCain Sydney McCain 985 Points

I found these resources that were posted previously really helpful as well! I begin student teaching next Fall and any resource or advice helps. I will be following this post too.

Hannah Ballantyne Hannah Ballantyne 3705 Points

I just taught my first science lesson as a pre-service teacher a few weeks ago to a group of first graders as well! I was a bit nervous at first, but when I saw how much the students were enjoying the lesson, my nerves went away. I have found that there are many great lesson plans in the resources section of the NSTA website. My co-teacher and I were able to browse the resources to find a lesson plan that matched the standards for first grade and the content that the students were learning about at that time. We ended up choosing a lesson about flies and how their eyesight is much different than humans' eyesight. The students loved this NSTA lesson as they were able to create their own model of a fly's eye. I quickly realized that you can get students excited to learn about just about anything if you pose the right questions and have hands-on activities.

Sophia Fernandez Sophia Fernandez 3385 Points

Hi Hannah! I am currently a student studying to become an Elementary School Teacher and I recently did a lesson plan on the water cycle for a school assignment. For my assignment, I completed a science experiment with a small group of students that was fairly easy, but very effective. It taught students about three stages in the water cycle: evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. The procedure includes: [size=1][font=Times New Roman][size=3][font=Symbol]·[size=1][font=Times New Roman] [/font][/size][/font][/size][size=3]Students will be divided into small groups of 5 to 6 students.[/size][/font][/size] [size=1][font=Times New Roman][size=3][font=Symbol]·[size=1][font=Times New Roman] [/font][/size][/font][/size][size=3]Each group will be given a glass jar, a plate, hot water, and ice cubes.[/size][/font][/size] [size=1][font=Times New Roman][size=3][font=Symbol]·[size=1][font=Times New Roman] [/font][/size][/font][/size][size=3]First, students will add hot water into a clear jar.[/size][/font][/size] [size=1][font=Times New Roman][size=3][font=Symbol]·[size=1][font=Times New Roman] [/font][/size][/font][/size][size=3]Then, students will place a handful of ice cubes on top of a plate.[/size][/font][/size] [size=1][font=Times New Roman][size=3][font=Symbol]·[size=1][font=Times New Roman] [/font][/size][/font][/size][size=3]The students will place the plate on top of the jar to seal it.[/size][/font][/size] [size=1][font=Times New Roman][size=3][font=Symbol]·[size=1][font=Times New Roman] [/font][/size][/font][/size][size=3]They will observe the process of evaporation, condensation, and rain by looking at the clear jar.[/size][/font][/size] This is the source I got the idea from:[url=][color=purple][size=2][font=Times New Roman][size=3][/size][/font][/size][/color][/url] [size=2][font=Times New Roman]This experiment allowed students to see the water cycle process themselves and helped them understand the material very well. I hope this helps and that you can use this in a future science lesson. Good Luck![/font][/size]

Halle Moshier Halle Moshier 2835 Points

Hi Sydney, I am in my last semester of school before students teaching. So I know where you are coming from about teaching your first science lesson. I am sure you will do great and look forward to see the replies to your post. This will help me in the future when I am getting ready to teach my first science lesson. Thanks, Halle

Hello! I am new to NSTA, and I was wondering if there are any tips for new teachers or on how to find credible resources. Thank you in advance. I am excited to be part of NSTA!

Kayla Calle Kayla Calle 2290 Points

Hi Sydney. 

A great science lesson to teach first graders would be teaching Newton's Third Law. It is best that you use terminology that they can comprehend with little to no difficulty. For this lesson you can either have the students assemble k’nex cars with motors or have them assembled beforehand. The students can write down their observations as to how they can move the cars. You should let them make their observations on their own and help them if necessary. You can further explain with proper terminology, this is a great introduction to Newton’s Third Law.

Dianna Gaspar Dianna Gaspar 2225 Points

Hi Sydney, 

Teaching your first lesson can be a bit stressful but the most memorable experience. Using the 5e lesson model makes creating science lessons much easier and fun for students, they work hand in hand. The 5e lesson model transforms traditional science lessons to an inquiry lesson.  If the topic for the week you're going to teach pertains to chemistry in particular showing students the reaction between two things/ states of matter consider doing the ice and salt experiment. It would show students why salt melts ice faster than if we were to use another substance like sugar for example. When making a connection between this experiment and a real life scenario it would help students understand the importance of sprinkling grit salt on roads before a snowy day. I think that in order for students to learn and have fun with science hands-on activities are essential especially in classrooms with younger students. 

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