Articles and Insights
On Teaching Inquiry-Based Science
You and your students really can engineer! This article explains how easy it is to make the leap from teaching science to teaching engineering. Author Kate Hester is one of the nation’s leaders in elementary engineering curriculum and a consultant on our Engineering Design Projects series.
Hands-on science is not a passive experience, either for students or teachers. One component of teaching hands-on science is obtaining and keeping track of all the materials students will use in their science activities. Here are some ways to make this process run smoothly.
A Science Center is a permanent place in your classroom where science supplies are stored and where active science can take place at any time. While it should be engaging and organized, it need not be large or elaborate. Whether your Science Center is a table, countertop, shelf, or a couple of desks pushed together, plan to incorporate these components…
For centuries, scientists have recorded their discoveries and wondered about their explorations by writing in notebooks. Today, many elementary teachers use science notebooks to help their students write about their inquiry-based science experiences, developing both science concepts and literacy.
Science talks are one effective tool to help children wonder about the natural world. By generating their own ideas and theories about the world, children become personally invested in seeking answers to those questions, thereby setting the stage for science investigations. A good science talk will not only stimulate thinking, but will stimulate children“s enthusiasm to discover answers on their own. Science talks can form the basis of a rich inquiry science experience. Science talks are open-ended class discussions are teacher facilitated rather than teacher directed. Science talks allow children to articulate their own ideas, and, as a group, build on each other“s ideas. A successful science talk is a genuine group thinking session, rather than a sequence of individual ideas. The teacher“s role is to model active listening and open your ears to what your children are thinking…
Standards-based instruction has been developing and building for some time. The standards movement is thought to have begun in 1981, with the formation of the National Commission on Excellence in Education tasked to present a report on the quality of education in the United States. The committee’s 1983 report, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, called for reform of the U.S. educational system. This report noted a steady decline in science achievement among 17-year olds, with declining achievement most prevalent in physics.