By Debbie Gordon, President-Elect
It is hard to teach these days, behavior management is all-consuming and learning loss is real. Instead of focusing on those things, though, I thought I’d share three brief snapshots of my students doing science. For me, it’s the small moments like these that help me stay motivated and positive. As you read these, think about all those bright moments that make you smile, too.
- They are investigating magnetic forces. Ana puts a magnet inside her desk and makes a paperclip move across the top “by itself”. Eliana puts two magnets around a pencil and one of the magnets “floats”! What else can we do? Why are these things happening? The students are communicating with each other respectfully and asking questions. They are busy figuring something out and trying to explain what they see. We gather together (safely) and students who have been mostly disruptive or eerily quiet are making preliminary explanations, trying out new vocabulary, and supporting each other’s efforts. Wow!
- They are on the sidewalk outside the school building. Looking at the nearby mountains, trees, and clouds. What do you notice? What does it remind you of? After plenty of conversation, everyone finds a place on the ground, gets out their notebook and colored pencils and begins journaling. It is quiet, the sun is shining. They show me what they’ve recorded and what they find interesting in their surroundings. Noah asks why the trees are so small at the top of the mountain and Michael posits that maybe the birds are smaller, too! We will have to spend some time on scale and proportions!
- We are beginning a unit on weather and climate in the desert. They make it “rain” and feel cups of water for heat/cold, then they collect data. Later we read about instruments for measuring more accurately with rain gauges and thermometers. Then an amazing thing happens. It gets cloudy and windy…it’s going to rain! Jonathan suggests we measure the rainfall with a rain gauge. We get out the rain gauge, determine a suitable place to put it (not under the tree or where the little kids play) and we wait for the rain. The following morning, everyone is excited to see how much rain fell the night before. Vanesa says we are now meteorologists!
What will we be doing when the next bright moment comes? I’m betting it’ll be science!