/body 5 Ways to Make Science Class More "Fun" | Science in the City

Jul 3, 2013

5 Ways to Make Science Class More "Fun"

My boys are interested in science, but my older one (who is in school), seems to do a very limited amount of science. I am biased, being a science teacher, but now that summer is here, I signed them both up for a half day, one week, camp at our local science museum. I am so impressed at the amount of content that they can get across to a very young audience (ages 4-6), in a short amount of time (2 hours).

Both of these classes have a very high student-teacher ratio, seem to have a good supply budget, and have students and parents who are invested in being there, etc, but still, I wonder what lessons we can take away from their classes to our classrooms. 

My little guy is doing "Exploring Science". It is a 4 day camp. So far they did one day of living things and one day of chemistry. They saw pictures of X-rays, saw skeletons of some animals, and colored pictures of plants, as well as started a seed. That was all in the first 2 hours. On the second day they made oobleck, tried different things to melt ice, and made a volcano model and read a story about bubbles. 

My older one is doing "The Great Ice Age."  They have already tried different ways to melt ice too, went  into the museum to see the glacier and wooly mammoth, read a story about the first mammoth discovered, and how mammoths used to be hunted, and played with "fossils" in the sand table.  On the second day they made an elk mask, made a diorama of a saber toothed tiger habitat, and he came home with lots of other tidbits -- did you know some plants survived the ice age?!  Did you know there used to be a glacier here?!

A diorama of a sabre toothed tiger.  Under the moss is a volcano! 
A Woolly Mammoth
They were both so excited. My little guy had trouble verbalizing some of what they did and trouble connecting it to what he learned, but I have no doubt that the experiences are good. My older one was so excited to share all of his new knowledge. 

Lessons I think we can take away from this, into our own classrooms: 

- show examples, even if its not an activity, but just show
- read stories and kids books, even to older kids
- make it relevant to where they live
- make it creative, and allow them a chance to express themselves

What I also noticed, because its younger kids and because its not school, they aren't writing anything about what they did.  That is good and bad. They aren't doing any worksheets. But are they learning?  Absolutely!  How do we practice writing and connect to common core?  Maybe do few higher quality writing pieces?  How do we assess their work without writing and worksheets?  Maybe with a rubric and conferences?  Maybe verbal explanations of a project?  This is harder, to me. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to do this, in a regular classroom setting. 

Maybe it's just foreign to me because I'm used to older kids?  

What thoughts do you have?




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