Another year has started and it is time to take a look at what I do in the class. I have taught grade 6/7 Science for the last few years and have dutifully just followed the text books and topics laid out for me. I have added nice experiments and activities and tried to make the class enjoyable and informative. Last year I was working with a grand total of 8 text books for my 2 classes and students were frustrated by not having the access they wanted to the book. I began straying away from the text more often. Resources in the school for experiments are shared and with our school getting larger it is harder to share. The whole school works on an A/B year system with all the classes separating when you have your chance to use the resources. Unfortuately with my style of teaching I don't always fit in with these types of schedules. This year we are supposed to move on to the grade 7 curriculum. Well I didn't even go to see where the textbooks are. Instead I decided to try something new.
My friend and fellow teacher gave me a book a few years bakc called, "A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe" by Micheal S. Schneider.
There was one sentence in there that intrigued me. He spoke about forgetting about teaching chemistry, or biology, or any other form of Science but instead work with themes that transcend all forms of Science. So this is what I am trying this year. As a class we started by having and understanding of different forms of Science. I gave them a list of different jobs in science (if you want it I can scan it in for you). Then I have asked them to group those jobs into Science themes. As they group them they are making connections between the different jobs. They are then comparing their groups to with other students. From this I am going to work with them to get to the broad groupings of Science such as Physical Science, Life Science and Earth and Space Science. We will hopefully difine them and give the students and understanding. From here we are going to start to work on themes. I am going to start with Cycles and have the students investigate different cycles in the different forms of Science. Since there are so many the students will be a responsible for showing a complete understanding of cycles in each Science and explain how it affects us. Students will be able to look at types of Science that intrigue them and investigate it. The onus will be on them to demonstrate their understanding and make connections.
I think this will make for an interesting year and am looking for feedback and input from anybody on what types of themes you think would fit into this style of teaching Science. Please add your ideas to the comments or just email me. I have quite a few ideas but will be looking for many more. If I have interest from others I will also try to post the projects and assignments I will be giving as I move through this process.