The semester for my Methods in Elementary Science class starts strong – I share the basics of science teaching best practices, students create and share engaging lessons, and rich discussions occur regarding the implications of science. Students are excited, encouraged, and eager to try out their new science pedagogical skills. They arrive at their classroom placement full of new ideas and passion in science education. They ask when they can teach the next science lesson. Their cooperating teacher responds “We don’t do science until next month”, or even worse “We don’t do science this year”. These preservice teachers that I work with a return to class concerned and disheartened, year after year.
To address this consistently prevalent subjugation of science, I have redesigned this 2016 iteration of my Methods in Elementary Science class to emphasize the simple fact that all scientists know – science is everywhere! We use playdough to ‘model’ vowel sounds, we ‘engineer’ shelters for a topic learned in social studies, we do ‘labs’ to test hypotheses posed in books, then discover what happened in the author’s version. Science lends itself to interdisciplinary study, and this is one of the most powerful ways to ensure that all students have access to science in some way, every day. Science is not ‘extra’ or ‘different’. Rather, it must be incorporated throughout the day. In doing so, not only will students have greater exposure to science, but they will come to see the discipline as it truly is – multifaceted, interdisciplinary, and highly applicable to nearly every situation.
For a few more pointers to maximize time for science, check out this post by Mary Bigelow on the NSTA Blog.
Do you have a creative way to incorporate science into your lessons? Please share your ideas by commenting below!