Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Teaching K-6 Science in Small Schools on a Financial Shoestring

Teaching K-6 Science in Small Schools on a Financial Shoestring. This article discusses how to teach science cheap. This is good. My school sure doesn't have much money. I guess all of us teachers are overpaid...

From the site:

Teaching elementary science is not easy, especially in a small school. Elementary teachers in general and rural elementary teachers in particular are asked to teach science when typically they have not been adequately prepared in at least three critical areas: fundamental science knowledge; meaningful preparation in actually teaching science; and instruction as to buying and using pertinent course materials. Further problems for elementary science teachers in small schools occur with respect to inadequate amounts of time, lack of money and library reference materials, too narrow science curriculum guides, and limited district support for facilities and personnel. While tackling all of these problems is beyond the scope of this digest, suggestions for improving science teaching and ways for small schools to upgrade their programs are provided.

HOW AND WHERE CAN ONE SECURE SCIENCE MATERIALS FROM FREE AND INEXPENSIVE SOURCES?

One way for K-6 teachers in small schools to overcome some of the difficulties in teaching elementary science is to involve children and parents in obtaining free and inexpensive science-related materials. Materials should be collected during the entire year, and can be secured from visits to city institutions (museums, libraries); federal, state, and county offices like the U.S. Forest service and the Soil Conservation Service; and from vacations to national and state parks. Materials can also be obtained from colleges and universities and public interest groups like the Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, and regional plant societies. It should be recognized, however, that special interest groups usually have particular points of view and that materials should represent a balance of outlooks. Several inexpensive children's magazines are especially useful in teaching elementary science: RANGER RICK, ZOOBOOKS, AND 3-2-1 CONTACT. Magazine donations from school families can be solicited and can include an array of titles, including NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, DISCOVER, SCIENCE 86, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, AUDUBON, and NATIONAL WILDLIFE. Moreover, three adult publications are specifically geared to teaching elementary science on a shoestring: SCIENCE AND CHILDREN (each issue has a list of free and inexpensive science materials); TOPS, and EDUCATOR'S GUIDE TO FREE SCIENCE MATERIALS. FREEBIES magazine is more general, but does provide sources for science materials.

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