During our unit on fossils I divide my class into cooperative learning groups and give them a replica fossil as well as an information card about the type of dinosaur from which it came. The students are told to imagine that they are a team of paleontologists that have discovered this "rare find". They must use their knowledge of fossil clues to determine information about the extinct animal ... did it eat meat, did it live on land, did it lay eggs, etc. I then give them chart paper and the task of designing and writing a cover story for a scientific magazine or newspaper. (The Jurassic Times, The Scientists Sentinel were popular created titles). Students LOVE this assignment. It gives them a cross-curricular connection and allows them the opportunity to test their understanding of how paleontologists work to identify fossil remains. Students may draw or even utilize digital cameras to add to the layout of their articles.
C. Freavel, 3rd grade teacher
For students to grasp the idea of microorganisms, have them "wipe" different areas of room/school with a piece of bread, label it as to area swabbed and seal it in a plastic bag. After several days, students should notice some pieces of bread have more mold than that of others. This will lead to a discussion about microorganisms, the importance of good hygiene and the proper procedures for conducting scientific inquiry.
N. Airhart, 5th grade teacher
St. Martinville, LA
During an Earth science unit, have students collect earth materials as part of a scavenger hunt. Students can then sort and classify their finds in various categories. This allows an opportunity to research, write, and study different aspects of their Earth science unit.
To show forms of water:
Vapor: We use spray bottles to mist white paper. I use a concentrated Kool-Aid mixture. If it's not over done the droplets are seen.
Liquid: Eyedroppers drip colored water and run down paper on a slanted surface. A clear cup with colored water is use for dilution; we pour clear water in and watch what happens to the color.
Solid: Melting ice cubes in the sensory table, or concentrated Kool-Aid frozen into ice cubes on a stick so the preschoolers can rub the melting ice on paper to "paint" a picture. I also bring my snow cone maker in and make "snow".
Include students with disabilities in the science classroom by modifying assignments, assigning mindful lab partners, and having visual references. Design activities that are hands-on and naturally differentiated; for example, if teaching about simple machines, give kids a chance to use each machine and have them write up the information in a graphic organizer or visual binder.
Jefferson Intermediate School
Our first graders take a field trip every year to the lake. During the year I accumulate plastic jars so my students are able to collect treasures (bugs, frogs, etc.). We take them back to school and talk about our great finds before setting them free.
McCord Elementary School
Ponca City, OK
Here in Washington State, we teach our first graders about plants. This year I set up a classroom garden for my students to get some real hands-on learning. It has been incredible! We have planted snap peas, strawberries and much, much more. They have learned so much, and enjoyed the fruits of their labor... literally!
Olympic View Elementary
I do a whole unit on dinosaurs which kids love. We do mini-digs where students are 'digging' for fossils. We also make fossils. We have dinosaur themed games to learn the names and attributes of dinosaurs. We culminate with a dino-rama.
Anderson Community Schools
I have turned our kindergarten playhouse into a science lab twice a week. The students love the lab with clip boards and science goggles, and other science hands on tools.
Science journals are essential to kindergarten science exploration! They can record observations of caterpillars changing into butterflies or label a drawing of an autumn tree. The possibilities are endless and all recorded in one place!
Elida Elementary School