Teaching Elementary School Science
The National Science Education Standards have set the standards for teaching science. Under Program standard B the standards discuss the best ways children learn science. Program standard B states ì the program of study in the science should be developmentally appropriate, interesting and relevant to students lives: emphasize student understanding through inquiry,, and be connected with other school subjects.î This sums up what teachers need to be doing un their classrooms to teach science. The traditional textbook only and work sheet teaching of science is clearly not recommended with inquiry and hands on experiences. Standard B shows representations of methods to use not only in the teaching of science but other subject areas.
The best way to teach elementary school science is to use a variety of methods. If the teacher uses a variety of methods, the children can discover the content and process of science. Some methods work better than others. This is what the teacher must find out in each class. By using a variety of methods, the teacher is sparking the interest of the children.
One of the widest used methods is learning through discovery. Discovery is finding out information using hands on experiments. The children can discover what happens in science and why. They answer the problems for themselves. They use their schema, prior knowledge of science, to search for information. The cycle of scientific discovery is first a question or series of questions are raised. Second, through a discussion a problem is identified and narrowed so that the kids can solve the problem. Third, with the assistance of the teacher, the children propose a way of looking at the problem and then collect the data. Fourth, the students interpret and summarize their findings. They come to conclusions, which they evaluate. Last, new questions arise with new problems, which need to be investigated which produce new conclusions. Then the process is repeated. The best way to discover science is with experiments. They promote interest and curiosity. The child can take what they learned and use it for future experiments and discovery. It becomes part of their schema. It is also good to have a discussion after the experiment. This way the teacher can find out what the children learned and what they do not understand.
Mrs. W. is a fourth grade science teacher in Maryland. She uses a variety of methods including hands on activities, cooperative learning, videos, field trips, and speakers to teach science. She believes that the one method that does not work very well is lecturing. She uses a variety of techniques to divide her time between hands on activities and lecturing. She tries to connect science to real life by using science articles and periodicals for children.
She believes that her role in the classroom is to help the children learn. She feels that her strong point is that she likes to learn new things. She tries to...