Gone are the days of the boring science classes with rows of black lab tables, overhead projectors, and teachers who stand behind a podium spouting facts.
Today’s science education should focus on DISCOVERY, INQUIRY, WONDER, and student COLLABORATION to explore authentic science phenomena.
Let’s take a look inside an Exemplary Science Classroom…
- Provide their students with the opportunity to engage with science in a way that allows them to become lifelong learners.
- Goes beyond making students memorize facts or sit through a boring lecture. It allows students to “do” science.
- Continuously working in and outside of the classroom to gain more knowledge and to help students achieve their goals while also advancing the field of science education.
- Provides a strong emphasis on rich, motivating, learning experiences for their students.
- Creates lessons in ways that are inclusive for all students, allowing them to present their learned knowledge and experiences without fear of failure.
- Knows their students’ personal interests and incorporates that into their lesson design, making the learning process fun!
- Invites students to design and lead activities of interest while at the same time demonstrating their knowledge of a subject.
- These educators see teaching as a journey, take risks, seize the “teachable moment,” and know how to read their students.
- Invites family members to take part in the learning alongside their children.
- Foster students’ curiosity, wonder and exploration about the wonderful field of science
- Engage in cooperative learning and not in isolation
- Share ideas and teach each other
- Excited to come to class
- Toss out ideas without the fear of being wrong or silenced
- Actively participating in inquiry-based learning activities
- Feel empowered to make use of physical space in the classroom
- Is a welcoming environment for all students
- Incorporates flexible seating such as, areas that can be configured in various ways to support student discussion
- Provides opportunities for gallery walks
- Incorporates class pets, living plants, and other various stations that allow for curiosity and exploration to take place.
A Fall themed STEM Activity
The Pumpkin Catapult:
- Students work together in teams of 3-4
- They draw a design with measurements to scale using a computer program
- They then use provided materials to construct their catapults
- They carry-out 3 trial runs launching their mini pumpkins across a field
- While doing the trials, they collect the weight of their pumpkins, distance they travel, as well as the time is takes between the launch and the time pumpkins land
- They then will go back to the drawing boards and redesign the catapult to improve their creation
- They will complete 3 more trials and create 2 comparative graphs of the data they collected
- They will then share their findings with the class
S – Using a catapult to demonstrate concepts related to physics
T – The computer program they use to develop a design of their catapults
E – Planning, designing, constructing, and improving their catapults
M – Collecting measurements and creating graphs of the data they collect.
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