When science coach Kathy Renfrew agreed to fill in as a fourth grade science teacher, she got a centerfield view of the challenges faced by middle grades teachers in self-contained classrooms as they try to offer enriched, engaging, standards-based science lessons.
What can science teachers do in the first weeks of school to get students intrigued, energized, and focused on science studies all year long? Using an NGSS framework, veteran middle grades teacher and science specialist Kathy Renfrew shares some of her favorite ideas.
Problem-based Science encourages students to develop a love of scientific thinking, math, and the creative use of technology as they learn through invention, design thinking, fixing and tinkering. Teacher-author Christa Flores demonstrates her hands-on PbS model.
Bring exploration, fact-gathering and deduction to grades 3-5 life science classes with Stewart and Chesley’s “Perfect Pairs.” Full of standards-based lessons aligned to fiction/nonfiction picture books. Literacy coach Pam Hamilton eager to share it with teachers.
“Perfect Pairs” uses fiction and nonfiction life science books to promote inquiry learning in grades 3-5. The 20 richly detailed, standards-aligned lessons can help any teacher engage students in exploration, fact-gathering and deduction, says 4th grade veteran Linda Biondi.
In addition to its value to schools and districts, STEM by Design will help classroom teachers make integrated STEM lessons a reality. Its step-by-step approach leaps beyond mere discussion to a real plan of action, says state science coordinator Kathy Renfrew.
Due Monday: Bring in 3 pieces of junk to demonstrate Newton’s 3rd Law. That’s a science homework assignment that supports a growth mindset, says science educator Mike Janatovich. Find out why useful junk can engage middle schoolers better than the packaged kits.
Believing that real-world student projects are “essential for deeper learning and investigation,” MS lead teacher Sandy Wisneski secured funding for a sustainable hydroponics program. Learn about the development process and the PBL activity’s first-year results.
Take 5! is a handy science resource targeted for K-5 teachers that can also help differentiate instruction in higher grades, says Laura Von Staden. The year’s worth of prompts will help young students to tie science, writing and critical thinking together.
To learn science deeply, students need the trifecta of instruction: experiments; exploration of a complex text; and teaching that’s both challenging and empowering. Deeper learning expert Libby Woodfin shares how this works in Peter Hill’s 8th grade classroom.