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Started by Helen Moore 31 May 2017 2:58pm () Replies (8)

Hi, I am new to VLN and am looking for some help/advice about improving science in my school. While not discouraged, science is not also not actively encouraged and my research shows two main reasons - teachers are not confident in their scientific ability and there has been no PLD in science for a number of years (if at all). We have 3 digital classrooms with more coming online. We are a small low decile school in rural Northland so money is tight but I am looking for some strategies I could use to engage the teachers and use the wider science community to help with this. Any suggestions gratefully received.

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  • Joy Kitt (View all users posts) 31 May 2017 8:34pm ()

    Well done you for wanting to teach science. Your first port of call should be TKI and the science curriculum area. Focus on the overarching strand which is the Nature of science. This will guide you through the skills, strategies and attitudes of thinking and working like a scientist. The other strands will give you a context to practise these skills. The science capabilities (again, look for them on TKI) are the 'how' of the Nature of Science. How to investigate, how to collect and critique data, how to make observations, how to communicate your understanding. NZCER has recently published an awesome book called "Constructing your primary school science curriculum". It is a brilliant, up to date 'guide' to putting the curriculum to work. Try and get hold of it from NZCER's website - it is an easy read but very practical. Within this blended elearning area of the VLN is my blog "the Joy of Science". I put it together to enable teachers to start some science conversations. Have a look and see if it has anything to help you get started. Also, start a science table in your classroom! It can be an actual table or just a tray. Find some interesting things for the kids to look at. Buy some magnifiers from the two dollar shop and see what happens. Collect a box of interesting things like nuts and seeds, shells, moss, stones, unusual nuts and bolts, weird things you find in the junk drawer, old things like film. Then have the kids sort them eg. Natural and manmade, round and not round.....that one starts a lot of arguments! Get them talking to each other, justifying their opinions and thinking with evidence. Be brave, have a go, do not be afraid to reveal yourself as a learner. Science is all about not knowing something and finding a way to discover the answers to your questions. Good luck

     

  • Joy Kitt (View all users posts) 10 Jun 2017 9:28pm ()

    It is hard to separate the capabilities as each has a role to play as you progress through a unit / investigation. However it is a good idea to identify ipone that you want to focus on. Gathering data /observation is a great place to start. Observation is the key to all the rest. Learning to take a long look, looking over time, describing, - all need practise. There is a loittle routine called 'See, Think, Wonder'. This allows you to work with the kids on a single item or in groups with one each. See - observe, describe, research. THINK - infer from what you see, Wonder - questions to follow up, investigate. Can be done with 5 year olds or 15 year olds. Can be done in an hour or over a week. 

    The Science Learning Hub has some great activities to start you off. All you need are some magnifying glasses and some interesting things to look at.

     

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