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How do you make meaningful time for science?

  • 1.  How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 04-26-2017 04:56 PM
    A teacher from the district that I am currently working with said the administration only gives her 15 minutes a day and three days a week to teach science to her kindergarteners. She's having a really hard time making the lessons meaningful to her students in such a short time period. Are there any strategies or lessons that she could use in her classroom that would make those 15 minutes as engaging as possible?

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    Cindy Hoisington
    Facilitator, Early Childhood Science Interest Forum
    Education Development Center
    Waltham MA
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  • 2.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 04-26-2017 05:05 PM
    Time is always a challenge when there are so many things to do! However, the fact that you mention that you are "having a hard time making the lessons meaningful," inform us that you want your children to learn science in a developmentally appropriate environment. Instead of seeking of strategies to cram lessons in a short period of time, try having a big picture. For example, find a starting point where you can involve your children in deciding what they want to learn about, mention about their interests not just during "science time" but also when they are outdoors, during small group, and so on. Keep them thinking and wondering (and it is okay for teachers to 'wonder' too!) – and make your "15 minutes" a time they can participate in groups, create an ongoing exploration, or investigation they still want to pursue. The key is to turn your children to be continuous thinkers, just like scientists – not just during your precious 15 minutes.

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    Beth Van Meeteren
    Regents'' Center for Early Developmental Education
    Cedar Falls IA
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  • 3.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 04-26-2017 07:10 PM
    How is the rest of your time allocated?  How many minutes do they allow for teaching other subjects?  Art and science go hand in hand in many instances and I often combine the two.

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    Diana Bird
    Bright Shining Stars Preschool
    Meridian ID
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  • 4.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 04-27-2017 09:52 AM
    A book to help

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    Melissa Kelly
    Fredonia NY
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  • 5.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 04-27-2017 07:09 AM
    Rather then thinking about making time for science, think about putting science and scientific principles across your day.  Help children explore all subject areas through the lens of experimentation.  If you think of science as an allotted activity which takes place for 15 minutes a day you will end up teaching children individual activities rather then being able to focus on scientific principles, which I believe is what you are hoping to do.  Try thinking of all of the skills you hope children will learn, take a look at the science standards and think about how children might explore these concepts throughout the day.  For example, can you talk about the importance of order when children are lining up?  Can you discuss nutrition and body systems works during lunch?  When children are outside for recess what do they notice?  What changes in the environment do they observe over time?  Can they keep track of these in a scientific journal and review what they have observed at the end of each month?

    I hope these ideas might get you started, feel free to reach out if you would like additional suggestions or clarification on anything I've said.

    Good luck!


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    Kori Bardige, Early Childhood Consultant
    KBardige@gmail.com
    Learning Circle Consulting
    Somerville MA
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  • 6.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 04-27-2017 09:52 AM
    Hi Beth,

    I agree that incorporating science within your other curricula seems your best pathway given the limited time allowed within your district specifically for science.  In our classrooms the teachers have taken the themes, introduced them and then incorporate the concepts ongoing throughout the year.  An example is when identifying types of living creatures, they brought up watching the eagle cam as the Eagles began their nesting process.  The Eagle was introduced during a lesson on Animal Habitats, continued in types of animals, types of feeders (Carnivores. herbivores, Omnivores) and into the springtime beginning of life cycles (eggs, caring of young.....)  They have kept journals during writing time, done art activities as they made observations, even went for outside walks to find similarities and differences.  Capitalizing on the interest this generated with the students has been a huge motivator in continuing their interests in other curricula.

    Does anyone else have ways they have incorporated themes within their days curriculum and had successes?





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    Jeanne Zelli
    King of Prussia PA
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  • 7.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 05-07-2017 10:59 AM
    In answer to the question is anyone using science themes in a classroom successfully I can say that the focus group at a public school is using KlevaKids books with great success. The books are theme based: Plants, Water, Weather and Earth. Each theme contains 6 books. All books are dialogic with prompts in the books for the teacher. Please check out the 4 Power Point video workshops at KlevaKids
    KlevaKids remove preview
    KlevaKids
    At KlevaKids our passion is to expose children to science in a way that is entertaining and fun. We understand the challenges of integrating science into the early childhood classroom or home. Therefore, we have created for you a revolutionary format that allows you to engage children in discovering the amazing world around them.
    View this on KlevaKids >
    to

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    Dr. Kellian L. Collins
    CEO
    KlevaKids
    Cornwall on Hudson New York
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  • 8.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 04-27-2017 08:45 AM
    Hello Cindy, wow, 15 minutes?, this is very sad. Maybe you guys can create a science lab in the classroom with different topics every week so the children can be engaged and go over the topic in 15 minutes. Maybe one day a week, you could skip one activity and have 30 minutes for science. But I don't know if you can do that. Good luck.

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    Renata Hall
    APO AE
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  • 9.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 04-28-2017 10:23 AM
    The wonderful thing about science is that when you are doing high quality science, you are also doing high quality literacy, math, etc. I suggest you use the 15 min allotted science time to set up an investigation. For example you spend that time planting seeds and asking questions about your seeds. What type of plans will grow? How long will it take for them to sprout? How big will they grow? Then follow through and try to answer their questions during other times of the day.

    During literacy time you could read books as references to learn more about the plants you planted/talking about plants/writing or drawing about plants. During math time you could measure how tall the plants have grown, how many days have passed before they sprout, and charting growth over time. During art time you could make observations of your seedlings and drawing/painting them. During social studies time you can focus on the occupation of farmer or gardener and talk about what skills and tools that person uses. During music and movement you are can use your body to act out the seed growing into a full grown plant or learn songs about planting/growing things. On the playground you can observe and notice how many different kind of plants you can find.

    Integrate the science through all the other curriculum areas and I think you'll find that you can do a lot of science in a week.

    Best,
    Miriam


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    Miriam Krause
    Maryland Science Center
    Baltimore MD
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  • 10.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 05-06-2017 02:29 PM
    I have been researching this topic for almost 3 decades and the issue is indeed that early childhood educators with all of the requirements that they must meet in math and language arts simply have a difficult time finding the time for science. A case study that I conducted while working on my doctorate showed that many early childhood educators simply don't have the time to do the research and moreover, don't know where to begin when it comes to integrating science into their classroom. What I have learned through my research and have addressed through my company is that in order for science to be a part of early childhood learning is has to be integrated into the curriculum with relative ease. Currently I am conducting a focus group at a public school in my area where preschoolers are learning science through language arts, whereby the teacher does not have to take a tremendous time out from their day to plan for science they simply use the science supplements and integrate them into their lesson plans. Early feedback from the teacher in this focus group is that children are not only learning basic science concepts but they are also learning language arts.

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    Dr. Kellian L. Collins
    KlevaKids
    Cornwall On Hudson NY
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  • 11.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 05-09-2017 03:40 PM
    Hmmm thanks to everyone for sharing your own frustrations and ideas on this topic. For me the bottom line is that 15 minutes, even every day, simply doesn't do science justice. I think that the best thing that science teacher educators can do for teachers and children is to continue to advocate for the importance of science and science literacy in the 21st century. Many of you brought up some ways we can do this...including integration and promoting science as a rich, meaningful, and motivating context for children's language and literacy development...in the form of science discourse and debate, science notebooks, and science documentation....I hesitate to give teachers ideas for activities that can be done in 15 minutes as this seems self-defeating. If we believe deep in our bones that science is important then it seems to me that we need to stick to at least a minimum of what it takes to implement.

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    Cindy Hoisington
    Education Development Center
    Waltham MA
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  • 12.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 05-10-2017 10:25 AM
    Two suggestions, my absolute favorite resources for science education in the early years:

    1) The Young Child as Scientist, by Christine Chaille

    2) Talking Their Way into Science, by Karen Gallas

    Firmly rooted in social constructivism, stressing that children are natural scientists and framing scientific inquiry as an integrated, integral part of children's everyday lives. Both books do a wonderful job of weaving the theory and practice, with plenty of classroom-based stories and transcriptions. They shaped my teaching in significant and meaningful ways, can't recommend them enough.


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    Stephen Karmol
    Wild Lilac CDC
    Portland OR
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  • 13.  RE: How do you make meaningful time for science?

    Posted 05-12-2017 06:55 AM
    A teacher can "sneak" Science in throughout the day. Just about all activities can be sprinkled w/science. Art : color mixing, changes in texture, appearance. Music; feel the vibrations, Math: learn about how to form a hypothesis and prove/disprove it, Reading: put out read books about nature, and etc. Gross motor; gravity, the human body/muscles

    Think outside the box :-)

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    Karin King
    Trumbull CT
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