Monday, January 22, 2018

Rolling Science Labs: New Science Standards Exploration

Rolling carts can be a big help when it comes to
to organizing and implementing the new science standards
 in traditional elementary school classrooms. 
I am using a rolling science cart model to teach the new science standards.

I have four rolling carts now and plan to acquire two more. The rolling carts make it easy for me to prepare materials and then roll the carts to each science team's work station. At the work station, students will review the materials in the cart, and then follow the lab process as they complete the assigned task, engage in science skills, and study science knowledge.

I will prepare the carts each week before our science lab day--a day where we give science more time for deep student investigation, experimentation, and study.

I am scaffolding the science experiments for each day beginning with a first activity that the teacher models, a review of the main teaching points, and then a do-it-yourself (DIY) list of team activities that are scaffolded from simple to complete to much more complex. As students complete the lab, they need to also complete the lab report which for fifth grade is quite simple so most of the attention is on the hands-on activity, collaboration, and learning the main knowledge points of the lab.

For example, for the mixtures and solutions lab, I'll first review definitions and information related to mixtures, solutions, chemical reaction, and physical reaction. Then I'll model the hot water and sugar solution as a way to eventually make rock candy. As I model, I'll use one of the rolling carts and note how I carefully remove the needed materials, set up the lab station, complete the lab by following the directions, observing, and noting the results, and then carefully wiping down the materials and returning them to the cart before I start the next activity.

Then I'll ask students to go to their classroom lab stations (groups of desks or tables in this multi-subject traditional classroom), and then I'll roll their carts with lab sheets and supplies to each group. After that I'll let students get started and I'll rotate around the room helping out when needed.

I've made sure that the activities are engaging resulting mainly with a tangible item that students are curious about such as slime, bouncy balls, balloons blown up, and more.

At the end, we'll clean up, roll the carts back to the science corner, and spend a few minutes with a review of what we did via discussion and a short video.