I am SO excited about teaching the next generation science standards! They are so well written and it's refreshing to move from "kits" to actual science! I am a HUGE believer in guiding students through discovery over lecture by using the inquiry model. In my classroom, we use a very simple procedure to every science lesson and my students can't get enough!
First we begin with an engaging scenario. This is straight from the 5 e model to teach science. Basically, I plan puzzles, games, images or scenarios to excite children about the learning and set a purpose for the lesson.
Then I pose a question (or have them ask a question based on the scenario) and provide time for students to work collaboratively to come up with a hypothesis, a procedure, and figure out their method to collect their data. Since science time and materials are limited, I also give each team a bucket of materials and a time limit to conduct their investigation. Their thinking often amazes me! Sometimes they are right on target and other times I may need to offer prompting to get them started in a meaningful direction. They usually come up with a way to test the question that is unique. They are only allowed to start their investigation once they have completed (and I have approved) their question, hypothesis, procedure, and data collection method.
The testing begins! Since each group came up with their own procedure, I often have six different investigations going on at once. It's constructive chaos at its best! Students are working together, learning together, some are confirming their hypothesis, and many are revising their thinking based on their observations and data. It's unbelievable!
Finally, I bring them all back together to review the conclusion. We discuss groups who had a successful investigation and groups who learned from investigations that just didn't work. We review vocabulary and even read nonfiction books at this time.
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