Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's a new Science year!

Our county has a new curriculum in Science.  While we still haven't had our first day of professional development to overview the materials (and with the lack of planning time, I wonder when that time might finally come!) I am fortunate to teach with our grade level's Science lead, so... even though the grade level hasn't had the training, our Science lead has. Now, to be fair, the standards have not changed - only the curriculum. 

There has been a push in Science for several years - since the state began to test Science in fifth grade.  It is obvious that our children can't learn all the Science that they need to know in 5th grade unless some of the foundation is built in K-4th.   However, we know that most primary teachers do not consider themselves Science experts.  Most would consider themselves reading experts and maybe a few, Math experts, but very few have an extensive Science background.  They took the standard Science Methods course that was required, but unless they just have a natural interest in some area of Science, their knowledge is generally rather shallow.  Once again I am lucky to teach with a second career teacher who has an extensive Science background.  I realize everyday how much more she knows than I do when she expands on the Science "word of the day" that is introduced every day on our school-wide television "wake up" program.  Off the top of her head she can  expand on the word  and its use in a Scientific context.  Often I learn as much as the children.

Today we had our first investigation around a Five Senses unit.  Items were put in a sock and then the sock was knotted so that the students had to feel the object, describe it and then try to identify it.  This is the kind of activity that our children love.  The new curriculum comes with workbooks which I normally am not a fan, but in this case where the investigations are new to teachers, the workbooks form a support of how to work through the investigation.  I would think that after using the workbooks this year, that we will be able to transfer to Science journals next year.

This Science curriculum also comes with readers that are at, above and below the expected first grade reading levels.  I'm not sure exactly how they are meant to to used but the idea of having the readers opens lots of possibilities!  This is really going to be a great year in Science!

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

In third grade, we're loving our new science curriculum. For the first time, we feel like the material is written at grade level and the reading is engaging. The questions are also fun for the students, because they are embedded as they read. With the reading, hands on labs, and Discovery Videos, I know our students are learning more science than ever before. So exciting.