This week, students and I have been reviewing the K-5 science facts and concepts in preparation for the State's upcoming MCAS tests. I've noticed that students remember well the past learning that was included in rich, experiential units such as the life cycle of frogs/butterflies/chicks, rocks and minerals, maple sugaring, and circuits.
Where rich, experiential units that included a multi-sensory approach with lots of time for exploration and repeated discussion and learning did not exist, there was less knowledge.
This demonstrates to me once again that our time as educators needs to be spent on collaborative, learning design. Design that is well-researched and benefits from the experiences and knowledge of all members of the learning team.
As the Wayland Public Schools science site states, "The program design should reflect an understanding of child development and the stages of intellectual growth. In elementary school, students are in the concrete stage of thinking. Therefore, activities should be largely direct experiences."