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Community Forums - K-12 Educators - Middle School Teacher is attempting to teach physics to first graders!!

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I believe I bit off more than I can choose when I said I would do a full day physics class for 7 and 8 yeard olds! I have set it up so that the last 3 hours are LEGO building but the rest is my attempt at teaching these youngsters, all boys and one girl, some fairly abstract ideas. Before this, I would have never said that middle schoolers were easier but after this, I am changing my mind! I have a lot of kinesthetic activities but would love any ideas you have 

Judy Barrere

This thread was posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:21 PM ET by Judy Barrere.
  |   4 Replies   |   Last on 12/14/2018 at 1:28 AM ET
Re: Middle School Teacher is attempting to teach physics to first graders!!

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This was posted on December 14, 2018 at 1:28 AM ET by funny jokes.
Re: Middle School Teacher is attempting to teach physics to first graders!!

Hey Judy,

It sounds like you have your hands full!  I know I prefer middle schoolers over ankle biters anyday!

Have you thought about using any activities that revolve around Newton's Laws.  I use to have my 8th graders work with after school projects that involved our K-2 students that we called "Testtube Tuesday".  We made balloon rockets with straws, ballons, tape, and yarn and would have races in the hallway, made some balloon boats, and I would have to look around for our other activities.  Let me know if you want any more details, I am not sure how much time you need to fill.

Good luck! 

This was posted on July 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM ET by Margaret Shain.
Re: Middle School Teacher is attempting to teach physics to first graders!!

I hope learning science at any age is about trying to discover if there are cause and effect relationships that can explain what we see (or perceive). So first students need to guess what they think is going on and explain why they think that (and you need to help them frame their ideas in a testable way). Then there are three steps to testing C&E that I teach at all stages: 1st, correlation. Can you show that their idea is credible because the cause guess is present or comes before the effect? 2nd, is it necessary? To test this you to a loss of function experiment where you take away the hypothetical cause and see if the effect stops. 3rd, is it sufficient? To test this you do a gain of function experiment where you put the hypothetical cause in a new situation and see if you can create the effect. We also cause this see it, lose it, move it. I'm a biologist, but I bet some of this works in physics too. And the important thing isn't to be right, but to learn to think about how to question things you don't understand in a methodical way. :D

This was posted on July 29, 2013 at 1:37 PM ET by Diana Darnell.
Re: Middle School Teacher is attempting to teach physics to first graders!!

I did a lot of informal science with upper elementary and middle school students through after school and summer programs. I couched a lot of my inquiry based activities as challenges. If we learned about air pressure, they were challeged to use air pressure to raise a stack of books (with a plastic bag and a straw), they were challenged to do a relay race with a paper plate..but had to use air to hold it in place while they ran, etc. We would put the egg into the bottle by immersing the bottle in cold water...but they had to figure out how to increase the air pressure inside to get the egg OUT of the bottle. I found that, after they learned basics about air pressure, they liked the challenges to get them to apply the principles (compression, temperature, etc.). Hope that helps. Glad to share resources if you are interested.

This was posted on August 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM ET by Marsha Matyas.