Monday, October 31, 2011

Benefits of Fieldwork

As Rachel mentioned in the last blog, I was unable to attend the ISTA conference this year. I am sad that I missed the opportunity to listen to many great sessions from some seasoned teachers in the science field. Last year I enjoyed learning about new activities that could be used in the classroom from teachers who have tried the lessons themselves.

At ISTA the teachers are not afraid of tell you of the hardships they had with the lessons and possible places of editing. I really appreciated the honesty and helpfulness the teachers gave me as I looked into becoming a teacher.

This past weekend I was, again as Rachel said, on a field trip for my Sedimentology and Stratigraphy class. We drove to Southern Illinois and went to many outcrops, quarries and state parks looking at the sedimentary structures. The greatest thing about the trip was not only the bonding that occurred between us students, but the hands-on experience that came from being outside of the classroom.

Purple Fluorite I retrieved on my trip
Already as a 'pre-service' teacher I have learned the importance of interactive learning. Students are very different in their learning styles. For example, I am a very kinesthetic learner; I love hands on learning. That is part of the reason I am a science major. My friend, however, is a audio/visual learner. If you write notes on the board in class she jots every one down, along with what you are saying. She cannot understand lab science; she is an English/Social Science major.

To me one of the best ways to bring all types of learning together is through field work. Sure, it may have a lot of kinesthetics in it but if you have them work in groups and have them fill out field guides you can easily get all involved.

Some examples of interactive learning that has inspired me:

  • Workbooks with questions to ask people outside class
  • Field Trips (to a museum, geocaching, to the library, planetarium, IMax, Play... list goes on)
  • Songs (I learned the metric system through a song and remember it today)
  • Guest speakers
  • Movies (not too long, sleep is so nice at school)
  • Games

If you have any interactive tricks you have learned over the years, whether through teaching or being the student, please share them!

The key is for your students to have as much fun learning as you are teaching, and vice versa!


Note on Field Work: I understand that this may not work for every classroom. Sometimes there are limitations that the school gives and field work is also more age specific. It is harder to keep the attention and safety of younger children in check but using the outdoors and outside school tools for teaching are some of the best, most interactive forms of learning.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Teaching and Learning

Hello Readers!

It is always a pleasure for Caroll and I (Rachel) to share with you many creative ideas of teaching science in the classroom.  Although it may focus on elementary and intermediate levels, just understand that many of these activities can be used for different levels.   Today, I will not be sharing an activity.  Hopefully, there will be an activity up tomorrow or next week.   Instead, I would like to tell you about my experience with Illinois Science Teacher Association (ISTA).  Attending a college in Illinois, I had the privilege of attending one of their state conferences focusing on Science.  Although the association does focus mainly on science benefiting the secondary levels, they also invite teachers who work with Kindergarten to Middle school levels.  

October 28 and 29 of 2011, ISTA hosted a conference at Tinley Park, Illinois.  It was located approximately 30 minutes south from Chicago, approximately 3 hours north from Springfield, an hour south east from Aurora, and and hour from Kankakee (all cities from Illinois).  This is my second year of attending the ISTA conference.  Caroll was able to attend it last year, but was not able to attend this year, due to her Sedimentary Field trip.   So what did I do at the conference as a Pre-service  elementary teacher?  Well, besides receiving  free stuff,such as many lesson plans, activities, materials, and more. I was able to hear other ideas from various teachers about teaching science.  I was able to help out presenters with setting up and getting their "workshops" put in order.  By doing this, I was able, as a student, to hear lectures, get free membership, and free materials.

I'm guessing you are wondering what do these presenters have that would be important for me (more from the minds of  pre-service teachers). These presenters either focused specifically on science, or introduced the integration of science with math, reading, social studies, foreign language, and more.  There were exhibit booths that had so much information, catalogs, and materials that are beneficial for you and your classroom.  I must admit, some teachers may say it is not free.  There is a fee when you become a member of ISTA and receive various materials from companies.  But once you are part of it, you receive various newsletters, ideas, and resources for the classroom.  Again, pre-service teachers, if you volunteer at an earlier time in college, there is a greater opportunity of activity collections.
For those who do not live in Illinois, go find a science teacher conference that you can attend.  There is also the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA).  It is a great way for teachers to come together, learn, and share their pedagogy used in their classroom. YAY teachers!!  We live to learn and teach everyone else about what we were taught. (:

By the way, NSTA has a conference this March.  It is possibly the 22nd, 23rd, 24th.  So go sign up.  It'll be worth your time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fun Science: Introduction

Dear Reader,
You are about to join us on an adventure that could change the way you look at science, or even your life!
Rachel and I (Caroll) are starting this blog as an endeavor to show the exciting, interactive and awe-inspiring parts of science. While this blog will be geared towards teaching younger generations (3-7th grade) every age should be able to enjoy the fun, simple activities we will be putting up here.

We will try and update about things we find interesting in science and how you can make learning fun for your students. We plan on using the ideas we put on here in our own classroom. So take this as a place where we store our ideas but are sharing them with you.

Since both Rachel and I are in school this blog cannot be updated everyday. However we will try our best to have a new activity up every month. The first two months may be slow, but our plan is to share with you some of the experiments we have done and how they can be used in the classroom or be done at home.

If you ever have questions just send a message and one of us will get back to you!


And Remember: Science is fun!