This year has brought around challenges for our science instruction like never before. In the past, I think the hardest part was gathering supplies but now we’re faced with a plethitude of challenges. See how I battle these problems while I still teach science with social distancing.
How can I make science engaging with only modeling?
Some of the best science teachers modeled their lessons. I think back to watching Bill Nye and a few of my teachers.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the same as students completing the work on their own but we don’t have to give up experiments and investigations because they can’t share materials.
Example: Instead of students modeling moon phases, I took a video from my perspective of how the moon goes through its phases and played it for students so that they can get that experience too.
How can I still be teaching science with social distancing?
The disciplinary core ideas, cross cutting concepts, and science and engineering practices are still the same and can be used without sharing materials.
Recording a video ahead of time of the experiment can have the same effect. Just model the investigation and don’t add in a dialogue to get full student participation in their answers.
How do I teach a unit when we’re hybrid and have asynchronous days?
This can be tricky. I have been modeling on the days when we’re in person to the students and giving background work (like reading text, researching, BrainPOP videos) when they’re remote.
That way, students are getting the direct instruction from me when they’re in the building. I also have been recording my lessons to play for students who are fully virtual or are absent on a day.
Example: M/T (A), W (All virtual), Th/F (B)
On Monday and Tuesday group A is getting a modeled science investigation. Group B is working on background knowledge and reading assignments (non fiction texts). Then every student gets a virtual day to work on an assignment. Then they reverse for Th/F. This has been a system that works well for my classroom.
Where is the time for science when we’re on half days?
You need to start incorporating your science instruction into the other subjects. I wrote two posts previously that discuss the importance of integrating your science instruction and describing what an integrated science lesson looks like.
Using a themed lesson around a science topic for your ELA and math block is important to bring in the science instruction that would most likely get skipped over.
Example: Learning about hibernation (K-ESS3-1) have students read about animals during ELA, have them research and write down their findings. Then during math, you can have word problems surrounding hibernating animals or practice taking measurements for den sizes, etc. If you’re looking for a research project, I have a few in my store- you can see them here.
My students can’t share supplies, how can we complete labs?
If you’re like me, having individual supplies is almost impossible. This year I have not had students complete investigations because of this.
I model, model, model, what is happening or have a prerecorded video of the lab to play for students. Is it the most engaging? No but it keeps everyone safe from sharing supplies.