We've just adopted a new science curriculum, and I will begin using it this fall. I'm going to embrace the process and learn the the nuances of the curriculum before jumping in and making too many enhancements. However, that doesn't mean that I can't offer a few science extras throughout the year. Here are a couple of fun ideas that are sure to make your kids smile.
We all know how kids like to collect things, including cards for games that they may or may not actually play (think Pokemon). Well, I have fallen in love with Phylomon Cards! They are FREE to print, collect, and play.
From their website: "Phylo is: (1) a card game that makes use of the wonderful, complex, and inspiring things that inform the notion of biodiversity; (2) an exercise in crowd sourcing, open access, and open game development; and (3) FREAKIN’ AWESOME!"
Imagine a world where kids collect and play with Phylo cards instead of Pokemon! Instead of learning about imaginary creatures, they would learn about biodiversity, ecosystems, and scientists.
You have to do a bit of exploring on their website to find everything you need, but it's all there: the rules, free printable cards, and even resources for making your own decks, like this one made by a first grade teacher and her class. Maybe you could be the next classroom or school to make a deck! Visit the world of Phylo(mon) Cards by clicking here.
This Youtube channel was by far, one of the favorites when I taught fourth grade. When we had a moment to spare, we'd pull up one of these videos (there are hundreds to choose from) and see a quick little science experiment, pausing each video long enough to predict and discuss outcomes. As a class, we were inspired to try many of these experiments and dig deeper into our understanding of why they did (or didn't) work. Several research projects emerged as a result of watching Sick Science.
Shifting from Stem to Steam
Art and science go hand in hand (think STEAM - the A is for Art). However, even with a newly purchased science curriculum, I don't have high hopes/expectations for the incorporation of art in the prepackaged lessons. Creating art to evaluate, explain, or explore an object, concept, or idea can be powerful -- and useful. Likewise, examining the art of others while learning about a concept can, for some students, foster connections that might otherwise be missed. What's really important about integrating is making sure that the ideas and activities truly support the targeted standards and learning outcomes. As I work to bring the A into our STEM-focused science program, I'll post updates.