Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Our first hands-on science activity of the year, today! It was a basic lesson on constructing a circuit from a lightbulb, battery, and wires. The kids love electricity. I like it, but it's not my strongest subject - I am more of an Earth Science and Biology person, but as a middle school teacher, it's only a matter of time before you wind up teaching all three subjects (Earth, Life, and Physical Science). I am, at heart, a generalist, not a specialist, which is one reason why I teach middle school instead of high school. Middle school science introduces so many new and fascinating topics to the kids, which they love and I love. But I digress.

Today was a perfect example of trying to balance inquiry - letting kids explore a topic for themselves - with structure. As it's the beginning of the year, I am still heavily in "training mode," teaching the kids how things work in my classroom and our school, how we behave on line, how we handle materials, how we follow directions, how we take notes, and on and on and on. Thus the lesson plan was to have the kids explore the many ways to make a circuit out of the materials provided... but the real lesson was much more step-by-step.

It was also a revelation to see how much quicker the seventh graders understood the material - we had lots of those "lightbulb" moments (pun intended!) when I asked them why a switch turns the light on and off. The sixth graders struggled with this much more, and needed to be walked through it. Lucky for me, I see the sixth graders five times per week, but the seventh graders only four. That should be enough time to keep them in roughly the same place in the material.

The reason they are even getting the same material this year is that I started the seventh graders on Earth Science in the sixth grade, only to wish later on that they knew about atoms and molecules. So, this year's sixth graders are getting Physical Science to make sure they know that stuff before Earth Science, and the seventh graders are getting Physical Science because they didn't have it last year. Both will get Life Science in 8th grade since the 8th grade Intermediate Level Science Exam is 60% Life Science, so it makes sense to teach it right before they take the exam. Hope I didn't lose anyone there!

Okay, personal confession: I am addicted to the little counter at the bottom of the page. I love watching the numbers change. So I was very excited to see all these new visitors in the last 24 hours... I hope you liked what you read and will come back! But, I can't help but wonder.... why is no one using the "respond" feature to tell me what they think? Is it because they haven't noticed it?

2 Comments:

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1:01 PM  
Blogger real_tips said...

my first ambition... i like teacher.

3:27 AM  

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