Good Times!

How can I teach science when my school only allots 15-20 minutes per day to teach it? This usually comes at the end of the day when students are worn out.
—N., Louisiana

It can be very frustrating to have only tiny chunks of time to teach. One thing you can try is to block science every 2-3 days. This also gives you extra time for math and English Language Arts (ELA) on most days!

If blocking time won’t work then you have to be very organized to minimize setup time and use demonstrations and lessons that are either quick or lend themselves to being broken into small, separate segments. For instance, you could divide up a hands-on activity involving plants into: filling pots with soil; planting seeds; recording daily observations; collating data; representing data; and creating reports or presenting.

The best solution, in my opinion, is to embed science into math, ELA, and social studies instruction. . All subjects benefit from being seen as useful and interconnected. Data manipulation and representations can be done in math while reading, writing, and presenting projects are all perfectly suited to ELA. . Social ramifications, geography, and history can all be incorporated.

The last period scenario is another concern that requires some extra effort. . If you can hype activities and keep them quick, engaging and hands-on, you may find that students may want to extend their days because we all know how cool science is!

Hope this helps!


Photo credit: Public domain via Wikimedia

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2 Responses to Good Times!

  1. Peggy Ashbrook says:

    There is a continuing discussion about teaching science at the kindergarten level in a short period of time on the NSTA Learning Center’s Early Childhood forum.

  2. Lesley Gates says:

    After working with k-5 teachers over the last two years in my district, the teachers working with NGSS came to the conclusion that good science cannot happen in 15-20 minutes. This doesn’t allow time for students to make observations, generate questions, investigate these questions, and work on sense-making of phenomena. We really need to change the mindset of school site and district admin (and many teachers, too) that science is just a “fun activity” that students do at the end of the day, if there is time.

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