What Are Science Stations?
My line of BIG Science Stations Units were created for 4th-6th grade students to have an opportunity to explore science topics at their own pace and in a variety of ways. For each topic, there are 9 activities to practice and extend students’ learning. My 5th graders LOVED doing these stations. The end of year survey proved they were a hit with almost every single student. When students are excited about learning, they learn more!
Why Do I Love Stations?
Students got some independence as long as their work was quality. It gave me a chance to meet with students who needed a little extra while the rest of the class worked at their own pace through the stations.
Stations are flexible. I could listen to students’ conversations and provide input as needed. I could assign certain stations to each student, assign all stations to all students, or let students select their stations.
The stations provide basic review as well as extension. Students can review basic concepts, then stretch their brains to apply the concept in a new way.
Stations are easy to set up. I just print, laminate, collect materials, and go. Fewer materials are required than labs for a whole class set, so it’s cheaper and quicker.
Tips for Using Stations
Stations were used in addition to whole class notebook mini-lessons, labs, and experiments. Here’s how I set them up.
1. Print everything. Laminate any cards. Collect common household materials needed.
2. Place materials in containers around the room with whatever students will need.
3. Put the students into groups of 3. Make a note of any stations you want to be sure some teams complete so they know.
4. Copy student pages.
For about 3 days for 30-40 minutes each day, groups work through stations at their own pace. I pull students I need to see. Students will likely not complete all nine stations and I’m okay with that. I’m looking for quality work and to see they completed the ones I asked certain groups to be sure they visit. It may seem a little weird to not have everyone required to complete the same thing, but to me this is for extension and practice. As long as students are on task and learning, I’m happy! Stations can be used how you see fit.
Sometimes I use the activities in other ways. You can do them as whole class lessons or with a small group. You can put a few activities in a Science Center that students rotate through during center time or RTI.
Editable Student Pages
In my shop, I have a free editable version of the student pages in case you want to customize them.
Available Science Stations Units
I have 11 units available on TpT that are ready to print and use.
Science Weekly Five
Science Weekly Five is different from BIG Science Stations Units. It was my original set of science stations and has been used by thousands of teachers. SW5 is geared toward 3rd and 4th grade. SW5 has 5 stations per unit with 17 units available. Learn more about SW5 in the free Science Weekly Five Start-up Kit.