January 2011

First Week of My Science Methods Course

This term I teach a Science Methods course for elementary teachers. My students will be teaching 5-7 grades when they graduate and I was asked to teach them science or to be more accurate, to teach them about HOW to teach science. Although I have been a science teacher for many years (scary to think that it is almost 20 years now), I am not sure if I know how to teach science. Every time I teach it, it is something different and I have to figure it all out.  Maybe it is why I like it so much. I have an amazing group of 20 students in my class and we are having very interesting discussions. One of the assignments I asked the students to do is to come up with interesting questions about science that are based on everyday life observations they made during the week. Today, as I read their posts, here are some of the questions the students raised:

1) Why does our nose burns during the summer faster than cheeks (this came out of our discussion of seasonal changes)?

2) Why does it take more time for the Sun to set in the Northern latitudes than near the equator?

3) Why do some oranges or citrus fruits have purple colour (grapefruit for example)?

4) Why are some trees evergreen? How does it happen?

5) Why is it that the chickadees observe a strict pecking order at the suet feeder, whereas the bushtits fly in like a squadron, and crowd 17 to the 6-inch square?

6) Why are tomatoes frequently spoiled?

These are very interesting questions and all of them are inspired by everyday life observations. We will think more how to answer them but I am very happy that we are starting to look at the world around us as an inspiration for how we teach science and how our students will learn it.

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