Health and Science Survival Tips in the Elementary Classroom
Have a Science Table in the classroom, and keep changing the theme: rocks; seashells; insects; birds; magnets; inventions; and so on.
Have a magnifying glass available. Teach children the proper way to use it.
Have a microscope available, if possible, and teach children the proper way to use this equipment.
Use a multi-media approach with your Science Table. Have books on the subject, models, pictures or photographs, actual items or objects, a videocassette, or a computer program (CD-ROM) that deals with the particular topic.
Decide how many people can be at this area at one time (two or three) and stick with it.
Encourage children to discuss what they are investigating and discovering.
Have writing paper and pencils at this area for diagrams, notes, etc.
Take advantage of the many opportunities science provides to reinforce sorting and categorizing items from nature.
Be sure to use plastic containers rather than glass.
Keep the area cleaned up. Keep adding and subtracting items.
Change the theme of the Science Table when interest begins to wane.
Buy old tools (free from rust) at garage sales, or ask for donations of hammers, screwdrivers, nails, screws, wrenches, and so on.
Make a habit of picking up old items at garage sales that children can take apart. Kitchen items are especially good for your study of levers, pulleys, and other simple machines.
Put a prism on a countertop on a sunny day to catch the children's attention and to launch a unit on color, sunlight, or refraction.
Keep a weather chart to track the weather daily. Record temperature, and use symbols for rain, snow, sun, wind, clouds. At the end of the month, graph the information. (This is a good way to correlate math and science.)
Have Closed and Open signs available to use at the Science Table. Let the signs do the telling.
Memorization is not the key at this level. Exploration and discovery are important. Explain that real scientists work in this way, too.
Encourage questions. Don't always think that as the teacher you have to know the exact answer for everything. Guide students to be resourceful in terms of where they can search for information and how they can become problem-solvers.
Excerpted from Kindergarten Teacher's Survival Guide.
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