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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Guest: The Science Penguin

I am excited about what April has in store for all of you!! I have asked some amazing teachers to join me this month to share with you their best tips about teaching. In addition to that, they all have something FREE to share.

First up... THE SCIENCE PENGUIN! This is a hidden treasure in the blog world. Not many people have stumbled across this blog to see the treasures within. I am telling you all now... you need to follow Ari!!

She has an absolutely AMAZING way to teach science in only 20 minutes a day. It is hands-on and engaging. It reminds me of the Daily 5 and CAFE but for science. I am in love!! But I will be quiet now and let Ari tell you in her own words.
 






I am SO excited to be guest blogging for Misty on Think, Wonder, & Teach! 

I'm Ari, AKA The Science Penguin.  I am a 5th grade math and science teacher in Texas. 


When I was in school, you had to practically pin me down to teach me science.  It was completely boring and had no practical uses.  When I was hired to teach 5th grade science in my first teaching job, I was extremely uncertain, but I grew to love it and became The Science Penguin!  It's so sad to me that with testing, laws, and mandates that science falls to the wayside in elementary classrooms.  However, all hope is not lost!


Here are five tips for teaching science to make it manageable, fun, and interesting!


1. Ditch the textbook.  If your textbook is anything like mine (a total snoozefest and extremely outdated), students will have no interest in reading anything in it.  I refuse to even get the science books out of the book room at the beginning of the year...just seeing them bores me to tears!


2. Use trade books and picture books to introduce units.  You can seamlessly integrate literacy skills like sequencing, summary, and predicting.  When I use a picture book with my students, I read it first just for the students to enjoy.  Then, I reread the book the next day and have them "listen like scientists".   I leave it to them to pick out the science concepts they think I want them to learn.  Afterward, we discuss the concepts they picked out, we clear up misconceptions, and I gauge what they already know about the concept.


3. Incorporate technology.  I don't have a lot of fancy technology in my classroom, but I do have computers!  There are some great websites out there with interactive activities and virtual labs, and the kids absolutely love them.  Also, student blogging is a way to help students communicate their understanding of science to each other and to you.  Involve community members that are experts in their fields and other teachers and administrators at your school in blogging as well.


4. Bring science to life!  Have students to do lab activities, explore the natural world, engage in inquiry lessons, and have hands-on experiences with the content.


5. Use learning stations and cooperative learning with students.  In the science program I created, The Science Weekly Five, students have predictable routines, but different units each week.  The kids complete one station each day of the week for a total of five stations per week.  They record their work in Student Recording Packets, which are the same for all of the different units.  With routines in place, this only takes 15 minutes a day!


The five stations are Reading and Comprehending (short reading passage and summarizing), Exploration (hands-on activity), Organize It! (graphic organizer), Center Activity (focus on one particular aspect of the unit), and Vocabulary (cut/paste matching and Vocabulary Four Square).


My students absolutely LOVE Science Weekly Five and other teachers that have tried it love it as well!    In celebration of my first guest blogging gig, I am giving away a *freebie* to the readers of Think, Wonder, & Teach!  On April 9 and 10 only, get your own Science Weekly Five Start-Up Kit for free!



The Science Weekly Five Start-Up Kit includes set-up information and tips, the Student Recording Packet, station signs and directions, grouping bookmarks, and the entire "Our Solar System" unit!  Head on over to The Science Penguin to get your freebie.  

Thanks again to Misty for inviting me over to Think, Wonder, & Teach!

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4 Comments:

At April 10, 2012 at 12:36 PM , Blogger The Science Penguin said...

Thanks for letting me share with your readers! You rock!

 
At April 10, 2012 at 7:26 PM , Blogger Angel Read said...

These are great tips! I'm teaching my first science unit this week (on plants) and I'm trying to keep it as hands-on as possible. Hey, maybe I can ask YOU this question... Do you know how to "dissect" an egg? I once read about a way to do it, where you take an egg and use a pin to scrape away at the shell, so you can show the students one layer at a time. But I can't find instructions anywhere, and I wasn't sure if the egg is supposed to be hardboiled or what! Any idea? Thanks!

 
At April 11, 2012 at 6:25 AM , Blogger Think, Wonder, & Teach said...

Congrats on your first science unit! The science penguin has a bunch of weekly 5 kits in her store. I am not sure of the topics but I know she is continually adding to her collection. Perhaps she has one on plants.

For the egg dissection, I found this: http://new.thesolutionsite.com/solutionsite/data/2103/fairviewelA2.html. All the info says you do this with a raw egg. Good luck!

 
At April 11, 2012 at 4:59 PM , Blogger The Science Penguin said...

It looks like Misty hooked you up with a link for instructions. Good luck with your plants unit! The best thing about teaching science is that you really can engage the students in the lesson and they're naturally interested in the world!

 

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