science programs

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by firstgradeteach, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2008

    Hi!

    My school is planning on adopting a new science program for next year. I've been researching but am unsure about any program that I truely like. I'm hoping that it will be okay if we order bits and pieces of programs if one does not cut it.

    What science program or materials do you use? What do you like/dislike about it? Do you know of any good science programs?

    Thanks!:)
     
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  3. Miz Liz

    Miz Liz Rookie

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    Oct 25, 2008

    My school just started using the Scott Foresman program. This is my first year teaching but during practicums I worked with FOSS. I have to say that I prefer FOSS to SF. Both programs are hands-on which is great for the kids.

    However, the book for SF is VERY knowledge intensive and my kids are really struggling with understanding the information. About 75% of my class failed the first test, and about 50% failed the second (at least we're improving!). One of my colleagues who's been teaching for 30 years said this is the first year she's ever gone so in-depth in subject matter. The kids find it very frustrating and I'm not sure how much they're really learning. Oh, and I don't always make the connection between the reading and the experiments that are included.

    FOSS doesn't have a book and relies completely (from what I used of it) on activities to teach the information. When I worked with it (2nd grade), I don't know that the kids could've taken a test on it, but they could have verbally explained what they'd done and why they'd gotten certain results. I felt like it was more "fun" to teach and learn from and didn't require hours upon hours of reading and studying (like SF does).

    Just my opinion!
     
  4. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2008

    Miz Liz,

    I'm so happy that you responded! Scott Foresman was one of the programs that I had looked at online. I really liked that they have level readers and it said, "60 second lab set-up!" I wasn't so sure about all of the other materials especially since it looked so pricey.

    Do your lower level grades use SF as well? Do they all have the same feeling?

    We adopted a new literacy program last year and it is WAY over their heads and I don't want the same thing to happen this time.

    Thanks so much for your input!
     
  5. teach_each1

    teach_each1 Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2008

    We use SF too.

    Re: the readers-at the grade level and below grade level they are almost word for word what the chapter is. The font is bigger but I'd say 95% of the words are the same.

    I agree with the above poster, the material goes way to in depth, too quick and too hard.

    The 60 second experiments: Well they provide most of the materials, they have lab sheets that go on trays so you just have to drop everything in it's place but they're not experiments. Just observations-some of them you can adjust to be an experiment and have the stuents do some parts of the scientific method but they're not written that way.

    Oh-we are SF K-5 and we all have difficulty.
     
  6. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2008

    lol. Okay I'm glad I'm reading this! SF is definitely a no! Even for the leveled readers! This is good to know!!!

    Any other ideas???? :)
     
  7. teach_each1

    teach_each1 Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2008

    I *loved* the program that they had at the school I student taught at. A team of teachers looked at the state objectives and purchased trade books to help fill the need. Another team worked together to come up with some experiments (supplies paid for with grants). Each year the teachers got a small amount of money (like $20) to purchase any new books for a GLE or a supply or such for an experiment.

    It was great b/c I was able to teach for the skill and not what some random company decided. I've worked in 4 schools-those students were the most science fluent then any others.

    (and actually-the district approached every subject that way-it was wonderful)
     
  8. maroki

    maroki Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2008

    We use FOSS kits in my district, and I like them a lot. It is nice that the whole entire unit comes prepared in a tub (with set-up required for experiments) and that most of the kits are hands-on and engage the children. We even order living material (insects) to accompany our insect kit!

    I only have about 2 hrs/week total for both science and social studies, so I love that FOSS is hands-on, quick to engage, and not too over the top with books, reading, etc. The kids get the most they can out of the little time that we have.
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Oct 25, 2008

    I'm using two FOSS units and a STC unit (Science & Technology for Children) this year. I'll be doing FOSS' Mixtures & Solutions and the Solar Energy units. STC I'm doing the Experimenting with Plants.

    I have my classes 4 times a week for 45 minutes (more like 35 minutes once we get started) and I'm finding that a lesson in the STC takes 3 to 4 days to complete.

    If you need help, don't worry--- you can ask the teachers here and I'm sure we can offer up some good advice. Take it at your own pace and if you don't get everything perfect this year with the kits, don't worry.

    Half my kids have killed their plants already and some of my control group plants already have seed pods. So the plant experiment is a total mess, but the kids are having an awesome time and picking up on some good concepts. :)
     
  10. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Oct 25, 2008

    Btw, MOST kits come in big cardboard boxes--- one of my kit did not (STC unit), but the FOSS kits came in 2 boxes each. If yours do not, you'll have to take some time going through everything and organizing it. I would suggest getting some cabinet space cleared out in your room and organizing everything you need that way--- material lists SHOULD be in the teacher's manual.

    Also, a big push in science now are science notebooks. If your kit uses one, please get to know it very well. My school uses FOSS' type of science notebook and I'm really enjoying it. One book you may want to check out is NSTA's Science Notebook book that explains everything you need to know about it (we use ideas from it in my school--- http://www.nsta.org/store/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781933531038).
     
  11. MrsWbee

    MrsWbee Companion

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    Oct 25, 2008

    FOSS is what I've had the most experience with. It is also what my schools used as a child, so I know from a student standpoint that it is engaging, interesting, and quite effective. It would get my vote!
     
  12. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2008

    Yay! This is what I want to do! I'm not sure what the good pieces are parts would be yet! Hopefully I can get good suggestions! I'm not sure if administrations will let me do this. I'd be willing to try to develop "kits" for individual standards but who knows if they would let me. DO you know how long it took them as a team to develop this?
     
  13. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    You are so sweet! I deifnitely will need a lot of help! I started my masters and have decided to complete my active learning project on science so at least things go hand-in-hand right now! I usually kill all plants so I would belong right in your class.

    I've never heard of Science and Technology for Children. I will have to check that out!

    Thanks!:)
     
  14. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2008

    Thanks to everyone that responded! This is a terrific starting point! Please keep any pointers or suggestions coming! :p
     
  15. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Oct 25, 2008

    You're very welcome. I'm a certified biology teacher for grades 7 thru 12 in NY state, but I teach 5th grade science in NJ (JUST science). If you need any assistance with ANYTHING--- science notebooks, setting up a lab, graphic organizers, etc--- please let me know. I'll probably have something saved on my computer that I can shoot your way.

    Btw, go through your teacher's guide and see what kind of graphic organizers they'll use. Most of the time they're junk--- you'll have to come up with your own. The observation chart they had for my plants was complete garbage and I designed one of my own after I was given a few suggestions by my science supervisor.

    One last suggestion: some kits give too much work for the student's to do. For example, my STC kit has them each observing 5 plants--- 4 experimental, 1 control. My kids can barely get through 2--- 1 control, 1 experimental. Hence another modification had to be done.

    You'll only learn these as you teach through the kit, but you'll have to stay on your toes to quickly decide what you'll need to do. Like I said, if you need help, please feel free to ask :)
     
  16. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    Oct 26, 2008


    Thank you so much! You have been more than helpful! I will definitely keep you on my speed posting list! Any program or change is difficult in the first years. I'm sure that I will have so many questions! I'd love to see any materials or anything else that you have to share.

    Overall, if you could start over and order anything that you wanted... what would it be?
     

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