I’ve been conducting full-day teacher training workshops for the past two weeks at a quaint beachside elementary school located in Volusia county, Florida. The six hour workshops are conducted for specific grade levels, aligning with their curriculum maps for the last 9 weeks of the 2009–2010 school year. The following photos were taken from the 4th and 5th grade teacher sessions. During the workshop teachers conducted numerous inquiry-based hands-on science investigations to explore life science concepts. Teachers recorded notes, observations, and attached specimens in their interactive student notebooks. Investigations made connections to the Big Ideas 14–17 from Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. The teachers left the workshop revitalized, energized, and excited about exploring life science concepts with their students. Great group of teachers, and an example of a school that has placed emphasis on the importance of conducting meaningful science with their students. During the teacher training workshop teachers conducted the following investigations:
- Conducted investigations to explore classification concepts (animal)
- Conducted investigations to explore classification concepts (plant)
- Conducted investigations to explore life cycles within the plant and animal kingdoms
- Conducted investigations to compare and contrast among the plant and animal kingdoms
- Designed and constructed a model of a plant or animal cell using a ziplock bag filled with Karo Syrup (represents cytoplasm), with additional materials placed within the bag to represent the cell organelles.
- Designed and constructed a classroom terrarium representing a complete ecosystem (garden snails, pill bugs, earthworms, bird seed, soil, water, and decaying plant material were placed inside aquariums). Concepts covered included: interdependence, ecology, environment, food web, community, sun, energy, energy transformation, producers, consumers, and decomposers.
- The key concept integrated within all investigations undertaken was structure and function in the plant and animal kingdoms.