It’s the beginning of the school year. The ONE week of the school year where behavior is perfect. You have the opportunity to set the standard in your classroom for behavior, learning, and lab procedures. Awesome. So… how do you do it?
Middle school students are unique creatures. The height of awkwardness. They’re young enough to genuinely get excited about learning and old enough for complex thought processes. THIS is your opportunity.
I always teach/review the scientific method first thing. It’s such a great topic and will help you establish an excitement for learning and doing in your classroom. Personally, I don’t like interactive notebooks, but I’ll save that for another post. I use student workbooks. Here is a look…
My workbook is a compilation of all my student handouts for the scientific method. It has notes, three labs, three read & writes (shown in pictures above), and various other resources. I’ll explain why workbooks are completely awesome later. Here is what I do, specifically, for the scientific method in middle school…
- Notes. I always start here to establish routine for each section. This hits my A-type learners and gives an overview I can go back to at any time. It also provides a resource for studying.
- Read and writes: I have three in my workbook. These are stories (that actually happened!) that all use the scientific method. The story is on the left, the questions/applications on the right. My students love these! They are spread out in the workbook and each serve a slightly different purpose and provide a different perspective. I like to do the first one as a class activity, then use the others for homework assignments.
- Labs. For goodness sake, it doesn’t matter HOW simple. Kids want to DO STUFF! I always do the first step-by-step with students. Drops on a Penny is GREAT for this! At the same time, I start Where the Green Grass Grows. This is one you’ll visit every day for a few minutes. Spring a Leak is one of those labs I don’t always do. It’s super fun, but you need to be outside so it kind of depends on the weather and how well your students can handle all of that. Finally, I love the gummy bear lab for when I’m teaching % change. When I’m focusing on independent vs. dependent variable, I like to use this FREE Consumer Testing Lab. (It’s actually not in my workbook because I don’t always use it.) Here are some pictures of what doing labs might looks like…
- Sorting Cards. If you’re not familiar, read this post.
- Task Cards. I like to tape task cards all over my room, give students a recording sheet, and set them free! Have them take those notes they took on day one with them as they go around the room. Task cards are a great alternative to worksheets. I like to play music. If you REALLY want to take this up a notch, make them leave their recording sheet on their desk upside down. Once they know the answer to a question, they have to remember it until they get back to their desk to write it down.
Enjoy teaching the scientific method!
If you’re a science fair person like me, this is a great time to get your students started. If you WANT to be a science fair guru such as myself, read THIS.
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