As I think about the coming school year, I'm most excited about science. Last year was my first year of teaching fourth grade science, and I found it to be a great experience. Maybe it's because I'm kind of a kid myself--I can't wait to ask questions and find out new things!
Here are some ideas that keep me going as I plan for science.
I want to always have some long-term investigations going. With fourth graders, these are often whole-class experiments that we all work on together. Kids don't naturally think to gather data and make observations, so this is something that needs to be modeled and taught throughout the year. Here is a potting soil experiment that I wrote last year for the beginning of the school year.
Lots of rich text
Our science textbook is somewhat dry. This year, I'm planning to put a large collection of interesting and inviting science texts together in one part of the room. Part of our science class will be "science reading workshop", in which students can choose science books to read on their own.
When I can't find a satisfactory text, I write my own. Below are articles about animal adaptations and cave formation.
Animal Adaptations Article
Cave Formation Article
My students love to look at pictures. With Powerpoints, I can show them great images and talk about them. I also like to use the document camera to project books. A River Ran Wild and Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean were student favorites from this year.
Introduction to Food Chains Powerpoint
This is a quick intro to food chains--a topic that shows up a great deal on our state sample tests.
Understanding Animal Habitats
This Powerpoint helps students to understand animal habitats.
Keeping these ideas in mind--long-term experiments, lots of rich text, and strong visual imagery--helps me to plan interesting and engaging science lessons all year long.