Science! I love teaching it, and I know many teachers do too. But isn't it so stressful to organize?? Compared to the rest of my day, science time is total chaos. My district uses the FOSS curriculum, which means a lot of open-ended, exploration type activities. This is great for the kids, but it's a nightmare for me! I'm always running around trying to make sure the whole group is following directions, has enough materials, and isn't just throwing pieces of wood at each other!
After my third year of teaching, I finally decided to rethink how I do science this year. There are two things to think about - the content I teach, and how I manage the hour. As far as content goes, I have been trying to make my science content much more inquiry-based (you can read more about my thoughts on teaching inquiry-based science content here). But that is only half the battle. I also struggle with whole-group science, because it turns into behavior problems, confused kids, and an inability to differentiate for kids' needs!
Enter my newest solution! This was inspired by the amazing Science Penguin, who blogs about teaching science to older kids. She has tons of cool resources on her blog, so make sure you check out her entire website. One resource in particular stuck out to me - the Science Weekly Five. It uses the Daily Five model (or as she calls it, the Weekly Five) to organize your science block. If you teach older kids (3rd grade and up), I highly recommend her Science Weekly Five!
But her brilliant station ideas don't quite work for younger kids - kids who can't read directions, or write in a journal, or work in partners, without their omniscient teacher helping them 24/7. So I decided to make my own version of the Science Weekly Five for K-2 teachers!
This has completely changed how I teach science, for the better! It has you break kids into five groups (or let them choose their own groups, if you are brave). Then they can rotate between five independent science areas that really allow for hands-on, inquiry-based learning! The rotations incorporate a lot of what we don't seem to have time for in other parts of our day - creativity, engineering and problem-solving, inquiry-based research, technology, and hands-on investigations.
Included in the packet are an overview of the K-2 Science Weekly Five, "I Can" posters for each station, implementation tips, signs for your classroom, parent letter, and several other resources. If I left anything out, please let me know and I will be happy to send it to you!
As soon as I started teaching science this way, I saw huge gains in my kids' engagement during science time. I was also SO much less stressed. This allows me to work with small groups on our investigations, while the other kids are engaged in authentic science learning. It also incorporates literacy and math - which is awesome, because cross-curricular learning is the best for kids!
You can purchase this packet on my Teachers Pay Teachers store here, or by clicking any of the photos above!
Here are some photos of my students hard at work in their Science Weekly Five centers! I hope you enjoy teaching this as much as I do.