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How do you tie science concepts together for your students? Share below:
This thread was posted on October 16, 2014 at 2:47 PM ET by Miranda Byse.
|| 4 Replies | Last on 5/9/2016 at 7:07 PM ET|
I teach middle school science so it is technically integrated science and not focused on one specific science. I teach scientific inquiry first to get students familar with the inquiry process and then I dive into a huge unit of Energy. This unit covers chemical, thermal, electrical, magnetic, kinetic, potential, light and sound energy. It is a huge unit, but when we move on to ecosystems and cells and the human body I am constantly coming back the energy concepts that we targeted at the beginning of the year. I think the way you structure your curriculum based on the standards you have to teach is definietly a good place to start with connecting science concepts together for students.
Two things that work really well for me:
1. I think a big part is how you set up your curriculum throughout the year. It has taken a lot of shuffling, but teaching units in a certain order makes it easier for kids to connect them to each other instead of 12 random topics throughout the year. For example, we start with macrocolecules, then cell parts, genetics, heredity and then evolution. If they understand all the other concepts, it makes teaching evolution so much easier for them to make sense of in the real world!
2. Current events/news stories. We watch a lot of video news clips and read articles from current sources (the New York Times is m favorite). This helps them see that what we are studying actually applies to life outside of school and helps keep them interested long enough to make the connections.
Setting up your curriculum requires careful thought especially in terms of how big ideas connect and flow. This year I decided to create larger units because students struggle to find connections among units of studies. The more time that they are able to grapple with content and cross cutting ideas the deeper their understanding of concepts. I also noticed student engagement and their ability to express their understanding of concepts increase when they studied units that had numerous inquiry based activities.
I agree that the manner in which the curriculum is laid out plays a big role in helping students see the connections between information. I also model making connections for students by reminding them of information we have previously discussed and later in the year ask for them to connect new material with previously discussed information.