Earlier in the year as I was looking on TeachersPayTeachers for scientific method resources, I came across EzPz-Science. She has some really cute stuff that later I found my self coming back to again and again.
On her main page she says that her goal is to increase student engagement with fun and creative lessons for middle school science. I personally think she is doing a phenomenal job.
The first resource that I ever used from her was a seek and find. It is a picture that contains key vocabulary words. Read more about them here in a blog post by EzPz Science!
Check out this freebie (a.k.a my first resource from her)
I really want to try out her seek and sorts as well. You can find all her amazing resources along with more information at https://ezpz-science.com/
Whenever I first present the idea of creating questions to students they are most of the time apprehensive. We go over the question words (who, what, when, where, why and how). We also talk about what makes a good question.
I also provide them with the following tool – Discussion Question Stems. Feel free to print it to use with your students!
Discussion Question Stems for Science
I love having a scientific conversation in my room. However, I want to hold everyone accountable and contribute to the discussion. As I was researching ways to hold students accountable I came across an awesome Kagan Strategy called Talking chips.
So basically you give students discussion chips and each time they talk they place their chip in the middle. If they run out then they have to wait until everyone has run out of chips. This works great for small groups and with the correct set up the entire class.
I usually set a specific topic of discussion. Then, I use poker chips as discussion chips, but any math manipulative would work. How do you regulate discussion in your classroom?
When I taught ELA, I used Socratic seminar a lot. It was a way to have student-generated discussions and it was something that I learned during student teaching. In this post, I am going to give you some information and tips for using this in science class!
What is Socratic seminar?
It is a method of discussion inspired by Socrates. Socrates believed in order to teach people you would not give them answers. Rather you would ask questions and help them arrive at answers on their own.
So how does it work?
For ELA I had students prepare questions and evidence for something that we had read. This is a viable option for Science as well, however, I think it could also work to discuss a phenomenon or an experiment completed in class. This is where science Socratic seminar would be different. It would not be entirely literary based.
Before you try to implement a Socratic seminar, I think it would be very important to explain what evidence is in science. I have found this is the most tricky part for my students.
I would also go over the following guidelines and explicitly explain what will happen and how things will work.
Student Guidelines for Socratic Seminar:
1. Come prepared having read the required reading or completed the activity for discussion, and with some questions or topics to discuss.
2. Be an active listener and speaker. Contribute to the discussion.
3. One Voice – only one person can speak at one time.
4. Be respectful (even if you do not agree).
5. Use evidence or examples from your reading or activity.
6. Explain your answers – a simple yes or no is not acceptable you must explain.
Role of Student and Teacher
As a teacher, you will simply be a facilitator of the discussion. Students will be expected to generate the discussion. I usually have a checklist ready and I explain to my students that they must contribute to the discussion a set number of times. Then I just check off when they contribute.
Want to try it?
I am excited to try this in my classes and I hope you will try it too. Below is a resource to help you further (I created it for ELA teachers, but I think it is helpful for science too).
I don’t know about you, but April always seems to be a crazy month. It is filled with Spring Break, Prep for Testing, Testing and a plethora of other events. We are getting close to the end of the year, but school is not over. Sometimes it is hard to keep my students in that mindset!
I like to change things up at this time and I am sure to add interactive activities. Here are a couple of the ideas coming up in my classroom to try and avoid spring fever!
- TASK CARD Egg Hunt: Basically regular task cards hidden in eggs around the room!
- Jenga Review: What a great way to review key concepts with an intense game 🙂
- Brain Breaks – to break up the monotony! We use dance breaks with baby shark and the cha cha slide. We also play quick games shake it out and Gorilla, Man, Gun!
Something that I have seen other teachers do for test review is a carnival! Check out this youtube video:
What kinds of activities do you do to avoid spring fever?
At the end of last year, I discovered collaborative posters, and they are amazing! In the push to fit in research projects, these were a lifesaver. Students love them because it is a group project that holds each group member accountable. It also gives them a chance to be creative!
What are Collaborative Posters?
Collaborative posters are posters students create in a group. Each person gets a piece of the poster to work on. Then, once everyone has filled in their information (and colored their piece), they come together to put their poster together. Sometimes students will discuss color schemes before coloring or wait until it is glued together to color. What I really like about it is the process and the fact that they are working together.
Another cool thing is you can have different pieces to posters scattered through the class so they have to find their group in order to form their puzzle. This gets students working with people they may not have worked with in the past.
Lastly, students research, but it doesn’t take three days. You can give them a time limit and hold them to it. Usually, for my students, it only takes about 45 minutes or less to complete their poster.
Are you ready to try?
I have completed two collaborative posters with my students. One about the planets and another about types of rocks. If you would like to check those out click the photos below:
I created a set of collaborative posters over Types of Rocks. FLASH SALE — Regular Price $4.50 — During Spring Break 4/1-4/5 this product will be on sale for $2.25!!
This one is by Tied to Teaching and costs $5.25
Pennant Flags are a Twist on the Poster Idea – I thought about using this for the beginning of the year next year- $2.40
Thanks so much for reading this post! I hope you gained some great ideas and if you need help making collaborative posters let me know in the comments below.
This is going to be a short and sweet post! I wanted to share with you all the science and literacy resources I have been working on. Each resource comes with three components:
- Reading Passage to annotate
- Foldables for Interactive Notebook
- Reading Strategy Page
- Some of them even tie into the doodle notes I have created – depending on the topic!
I made some of these resources to help out a co-worker who needed some literacy activities for her students. I also, however, created them because I noticed my students didn’t quite grasp how to closely read and find information. They want everything handed to them, but we as adults know that isn’t how it works sometimes.
I encourage you to look through them and try them out for yourself. Thanks so much for reading!