I know some of you have gone back to work today...I was in school until the 23rd of December this year, so I do not return to the classroom until the 9th of January. Right before the break I set up all the materials for my new science unit: Conservation of Energy.
I introduced the unit to the students by showing them some video clips from Youtube (Bill Nye: Energy and Fired Up About Energy from the Smithsonian Institute). After viewing the videos I had the students record the vocabulary from my Illustrated Word Wall cards in their science notebooks. I give the students a new notebook for each unit we cover in science. I like the small size and the blank pages. This allows the students to record their thinking in a variety of ways, and they are also able to glue in the recording pages from the Hands-On Minds-On Science Centers.
I was able to purchase almost all of the materials I needed for these centers from an on line store called Open A Party. You can also find similar materials from stores such as Party City. I purchased all the materials needed for two grade 5 classes for less than $40.
I set up the bins on a side table in my room. There are 10 centers in total, but I did things a little differently this time around. I started the WHOLE CLASS with the Read It Center. I made numbered copies of the reading selections (so I could collect them and reuse them in future years) and had the entire class doing the reading and recording BEFORE we started the centers. I did this to help build up background knowledge before students started working in the centers. I suggest using centers for about 50% of your science instruction time. I also wanted to introduce the "Let's Inquire" center earlier this time around, so we needed to have some content knowledge acquired before I could explain the task.
I have found that the centers each take varying amounts of time for students to finish depending on the center itself, and the needs of the students. To avoid the "What do I do when I am done?" question, I introduce the "Let's Inquire" center and explain the process BEFORE they start the centers. That way, when they are finished a center, they know they need to get to work on their INQUIRY project.
I have used the photocopier to enlarge the "Let's Inquire" graphic organizer and research notes pages. I copy them back to back and give each student a copy. I find that using this larger size helps the students stay focussed and gives them more space to record information. The first time I introduced the centers, I only had the students complete the organizer. This time, they will need to complete the organizer and then present their findings to the class. They have been given free choice in how to present their inquiry.
The rest of the centers are ready and waiting for the students to dive in when we return from the winter holidays! I can hardly wait to see what they discover!
This is how I run off the student booklets. I use these in my classroom for "rough copy" work, and after I have checked over their answers, my students take a "good copy" page from the turquoise trays, and complete a finished copy, which they then glue inside their science notebook. I find this creates a nice finished product for the students to review and keep after the unit is finished.
Students keep their "rough copy" booklet clipped inside their science notebook with a bulldog clip.
If you are interested in checking out any of my science and technology centers, you can see them in my TpT store by clicking on the image below.
I hope you all have a healthy and happy New Year!