Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Young children are curious about the world around them and eager to explore it. This curiosity is reflected in the numerous questions that children pose in everyday conversations at home and in school. However, at the beginning of school, young children are afforded few opportunities to engage systematically and thoughtfully in learning science. On average, less than 10% of instructional time is spent on teaching science in the early grades. Time is a precious commodity in the classroom…so how do we fit it all in?
One of the ways we incorporate science is through our thematic units. We also explore science themes through informational texts. One of my reading groups was reading a leveled book on weather. The informational text was written on this group’s reading level. After reading the book and discussing different kinds of weather, we used our iPads as both a reading response/science journal. Using our Whiteboard App, the children wrote about weather. Kaylee wrote about a sunny day. This was their first experience using the iPad keyboard. They were excited about creating this assignment on their iPads. There was a lot of good discussion among the children about which type of weather they would choose and how they would represent that on the iPad. One of the best ways to incorporate scientific skills in young children is to help them verbalize what they have observed. Doing this activity in the small guided reading group made it very manageable. The children already knew how to use Whiteboard in its basic form, how to change their colors, draw, erase, and save…but had not used the keyboard function before. We had to discuss a few keyboard basics-space bar, backspace to erase, and how to hide the keyboard when finished.
Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer and writer, said that all children start out as scientists, full of curiosity and questions about the world around them. We can tap into that natural potential by engaging students in hands-on activities, and in class discussions that help students discover simple but amazing facts about the world around them. The iPads serve as a tool to facilitate and extend the learning.
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