Life Skills Science

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by jschafer10, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. jschafer10

    jschafer10 Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2006

    Hey Everyone-

    So school has started and I absolutely love my job! but I'm lacking things...such as curriculum! I've been pulling resources from various places on the net, books from school, etc. but I'm still looking for that perfect curriculum for my room! I've got Math and Reading pretty much set...but it's science that I struggle with. I have a parent that is adamant that her child have a Science class. So I've be pulling things together...but they all fall under Health (which I think is more appropriate). I am wanting to include some simple Science ideas. Does anyone have anything? Any good websites? Good books? etc. My science class consists of 2 8th graders...1 non verbal autistic student (who when he wants something will request other...otherwise very limited communication..even when using PECS). My other student is very low, low reading skills (can recognize words only if a picture is with it). Very poor fine motor skills, although she is verbal and can handle simple stories...she requires prompting to remain on task.
    Any suggestions or ideas would be great!
    Thanks:thanks: :thanks: :eek:
     
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  3. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Sep 27, 2006

    One book I like to use selectively is Cut and Paste Science from Teacher Created Materials (http://www.amazon.com/Cut-Paste-Sci...pd_bbs_1/104-9917951-3864704?ie=UTF8&s=books). It is definitely age-approrpiate, deals with a variety of topics, and helps with those non-writers. For some of my guys, I would cut the pieces out for them ahead of time (and they just glued), some I would make my own cut-and-paste pieces (i.e. using BoardMaker icons), some I would enlarge, etc. I liked them because the diagrams are very straight forward. Topics I used included: Parts of a Volcano, Day and Night, Inside Rain, Parts of a Plant, What Parts do we Eat? etc. I usually found children's literature to support what we were learning about or we did a related experiment, and I found this book to be a nice follow-up to a lot of those activities.

    My absolute FAVORITE science text that I seem to have lost is Science Experiments for Young Learners by Jill Norris (http://www.amazon.com/Science-Exper...=sr_1_15/104-9917951-3864704?ie=UTF8&s=books). This book was the basis for what I called our science "labs" where my students were completing simple experiments related to our weekly themes. I love the sheets included in this book--straight forward, often easily-adapted for non-writers, and the experiments do not require extensive expensive equipment. We kept a lab notebook for our experiments and each child completed a lab sheet, either as printed in the text or however I created/modified. For the most part, I did not find these experiments to be immature with regard to topic, and the actual technqiues involved were often very appropriate for my guys.

    Other experiments we did that were not from these texts included balancing books on 4 eggs, mixing colors with play dough, making a hurricane in a bowl, creating miniature volcanos, water drops on pennies, etc. Those were just little activities/experiments pulled from different resources or past experiences--I do like the Williamson series of texts for brainstorming as well (i.e. http://www.amazon.com/Science-Play-...f=sr_1_1/104-9917951-3864704?ie=UTF8&s=books). When doing these sort of experiments, I designed my own lab sheet using Writing With Symbols or BoardMaker, etc.

    One thing that I really believe with regard to science is that while the actual content may not be "pure life skills" (i.e. is an understanding of color mixing REALLY necessary for living independently) the process involved really is a life skill. Most of my labs or experiments involved a step where students had to estimate, guess, predict, and then later, they had to evaluate their original predictions for accuracy. This is a REALLY difficult skill for anyone, but especially for our guys, so I think incorporating those skills into your curriculum as many times as possible is really key to helping them internalize them. So, while your student may not ever REALLY NEED to know that the prediction of blue + red = purple, they will probably reach a time in their lives where it will be really important to know how to guess/predict/estimate, and then go back and check for accuracy. I think science can incorporate those types of skills very well, while being motivating and interesting to our guys. And when they do start to retain the content information, that's just another bonus I think, even if it is on a basic level. Also, making predictions helps them start to conceptualize things like numbers, patterns, etc. If you need to estimate how many books 4 eggs can support, you need to guess a number--this gives us practice counting, identifying numbers, writing numbers, stamping numbers, etc. After we do the experiment, we can go back and discuss the numbers--were they close, were they far, etc. Science with basic materials (like cooking materials, utensils, etc.) can also reinforce those life skills--do you need to measure? do you need to use a specific utensil? do we need to bake something? My guys also used to grocery shop for the suppplies we needed for science class, so they were reviewing vocabulary, community stuff, etc. in preparation. The more times you hit a content area or skill in a different setting, the more likely your students will be able to generalize it.

    I don't mean to say that I think science is the most important part of your curriculum, because it isn't--in my room, science group was 1 time per week for maybe a half hour tops. But, kids often ENJOY science, and if they enjoy it, then use it get to some of those other content area or life skills.

    I remember we were doing Presidents Day as a theme once, and we hit the theme every single day--art group, social studies group, etc. By the time we got to science group and we were doing experiments with coins, my kids could differentiate between Lincoln and Washington in pictures--not the science content but we were reinforcing other content knowledge while incorporating other skills.

    I my rambling helped a bit--I'm sorry if it didn't! If I think of any more texts, I'll post them!
     
  4. jschafer10

    jschafer10 Rookie

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    Sep 28, 2006

    Thanks! I will definitely look into the books right away! I am doing themes in my room...but did not start out the year that way. I figured now that I have a pretty good indication levels of my students, I can incorporate themes they will like an understand! I think it will be much easier now with the themes.
    THANKS so much!
     

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