Did you ever read the lesson in the science textbook and answer the questions at the end? Then repeat that 3 more times. Then complete the two page chapter review. Take the test and all of a sudden, you have learned science! I don’t know about you, but I think that’s how I ended up hating science for years. We’d have a lab here and there or raise butterflies, but the majority of my science education was spent
staring at reading a textbook.
I assume you already know this, but there IS a better way to reach our students and let them EXPERIENCE science. Here are 9 ideas you can use to get your students pumped up to learn more!
1. Video Clips and PowerPoints
Both of these provide students with chunks of new information. You can pause to let students “turn and teach” their neighbor what they just learned. I love StudyJams, BrainPop, and of course, Science Penguin PowerPoints. Sometimes I use video clips from YouTube for showing animation of a process. Then we *pause* and turn and teach.
2. Trade Books with Graphic Organizers
There are some great trade books out there that students can read and respond to with a graphic organizer. I LOVE the Max Axiom series or any of the National Geographic books. Also, check your school library and literacy book room (if you have one) for informational text about the topic you’re studying.
Mini-labs are fun, hands-on activities that allow students to explore a concept that take about 15 or 20 minutes. Students can build circuits, model day/night using a globe and flashlight, create mixtures and solutions, test for conductivity and magnetism, or model the creation of sedimentary rock. These activities are fast, fun, and memorable!
4. Call and Response
Call and response is based on Whole Brain Teaching and is an interactive way to chunk new content that students need to remember. The teacher presents a chunk of new information to students with hand motions. Students repeat it back, then “turn and teach” a partner. Keep adding to it and revisiting. Soooo much more effective than lecture!
Asking a question and determining the answer through an experiment is one of the best ways to teach science. Students make hypotheses, help plan experiments, conduct them, analyze data, and formulate conclusions. Memorable, effective, and fun!
So many things in our natural world can be modeled. You can provide students with directions to create a model OR even better, you can provide materials and have students decide how to create the model. Remember to identify the advantages and limitations of each model created.
7. Interactive Science Notebook
Interactive Science Notebooks are toward the top of my favorites list. This is not simply taking notes. This is about visuals, interacting with each other, processing new information, and communicating.
I started using science stations over 5 years ago and simply adore it. Students get the opportunity to work in tiny groups at their own pace completing various tasks that address their specific needs and learning styles. As the teacher, I have the opportunity to meet with small groups or facilitate learning with the groups.
9. Research and Present
I LOVE projects. It’s honestly a shame we had so much to cover that we haven’t been able to go as deep as I would like with a research project. Students can research a problem and form a solution. Students can research information and present it using technology. Students can ask a question and find the answer. You can provide opportunities that incorporating technology and promote public speaking.
Electricity Vocabulary from Hands-On Science Vocabulary Instruction
Milk and Cookies Experiment from Christmas Labs
Rock Cycle Model from Hands-On Science Vocabulary Instruction
Oceans Notebook Printable from Oceans Unit
Energy Center from Energy Stations Unit
Thank you for stopping by The Science Penguin!