Saturday, October 6, 2012

Teaching the Scientific Process and Tools Scientists Use

I love teaching science and find the kids love it too. I wish I had more time in my day to devote to it but there is so much to cover. Here is the science area of my room.  I have the scientific method posted.  These are hard words for third graders but ones they are accountable for in third grade.
We refer to this flow chart all year long!
Our science tools and materials are located here and students enjoy spending time in this area.  I will run a science observation station as part of my literacy rotations.  Students head here to conduct mini investigations, get opportunities to use science tools or can read science books related to the science topics we cover.
 Here is a great read aloud chapter book that helps launch the unit.  It is about a boy who loves science and enters a science fair.  Students relate to this character and my kids really enjoyed this one.  There is a whole series of Owen Foote books so now my students are reading the other ones for independent reading time.  I love when that happens!
Another way I get students to become more comfortable reading and understanding the scientific process vocabulary words is through a poem called, Experiments.  This poem includes all these words and explains them in a rhyming poem. My students glued a copy of the poem into their poetry journal and we highlighted all the key words.  Then they worked on illustrating the poem for meaning.
Check out the great illustrations and words this student added.  I can really tell that he has a pretty good understanding of some of these words.
Here is what he drew and wrote for hypothesis:
Don't you LOVE this:  A brain before and after experiments.
The next day we visited the science area and I introduced each science tool there. We discussed how it is used and what it measures.  Students recorded the information on this web.  It was stapled into their science folder.
The next step extended this thinking a bit more.  Together we created sorting cards for students to practice the tool, the use, and the unit.  We filled these out as a whole class with me leading.  Then they cut them and practiced mixing and sorting the cards.  We keep these in a baggie so it can be done again and again. 
We've played memory match and even go fish with this set of cards.  My advice is to copy them on cardstock so they hold up through the year.  The learning comes from the sorting so we don't glue them down until the very end of the year.

If you are interested in downloading a set of these materials, visit this page on TPT:

Check back for a post about our first science unit on Matter!