Science teachers often integrate topics in health/nutrition/wellness with science. Most children know that nutritious food and exercise are important for good health, and science classes provide opportunities for children to explore how and why.
Teaching Young Scientists About Their Bodies uses observation and model-making for students to begin to understand the complexity of the human body, particularly the skeletal system. [SciLinks: Animal Bones]
Children aren’t the only ones who have misconceptions about health. Even adults have misconceptions or incomplete understandings of science phenomena. In this month’s Formative Assessment Probe, Confronting Common Folklore: Catching a Cold, Page Keeley presents a way to uncover what students do (or do not) understand about infectious diseases, specifically the common cold. As usual, a brief background discussion accompanies the probe document. [SciLinks: Viruses, Germs, Germ Theory of Disease, Infectious Disease]
Several articles focus on food and nutrition. From Soda to Smoothies has a 5E lesson in which students learn about nutrition and food quality by developing recipes for fruit smoothies. The author of Chef of the Week describes a project that gave students a way to learn about and incorporate healthy snacks. How Much Have You “Bean” Eating? describes a simulation that looks at the relationship between food production and population growth. [SciLinks: Nutrition, Vitamins, Foods as Fuel, Human Population]
Knowing and using social skills can be another facet of healthy living. Morning Meeting and Science has a rationale for using this time to model and practice appropriate social skills which can be applied in science lessons (and other lessons, too). For example, students may need explicit guidance on what listening to others “looks like” and “sounds like” and these are suggested in a table in the article. It might be harder for secondary teachers to carve out time from a 45-minute class period—perhaps a brief “Monday Meeting”?
When one of their school’s teachers participated in a research project in Antarctica, the students not only followed her experiences, they were inspire to meet goals in reading and physical fitness. The authors of Read-and Walk-to Antarctica suggest how similar projects could be done at other schools, even if teachers don’t have a similar adventure. [SciLinks: Polar Climates]
The title Inquiry Takes Time says it all. The authors document a year-long project in a third-grade classroom to incorporate inquiry experiences. Each season (fall, winter, spring) focused on a level of inquiry (structured, guided, open) with familiar topics (rocks, circuits, plant growth. The authors provide a template for a student form and an example of a completed one [SciLinks: Rocks, Electricity, Plant Growth] This Is Inquiry, Right? has suggestions for updating activities to become more inquiry-focused. There is an informative table that shows how sections of a traditional activity on magnets could be modified. [SciLinks: Magnets, Magnetism]
Kindergartners, Fish, and Worms…Oh My! shows how younger students can engage in observations and discussions when studying living things. The article includes a rubric and examples of student work. (I wonder if for some students this was the first opportunity they had to touch a worm or fish and observe them up close.) [SciLinks: Earthworms] In Life Cycles, trade books are used to stimulate student interest in science, and the article includes lessons for observing life cycles of insects and frogs. [SciLinks: Butterflies, Amphibians]
Many of these articles have extensive resources to share, so check out the Connections for this issue (September 2012). Even if the article does not quite fit with your lesson agenda, there are ideas for handouts, background information sheets, data sheets, rubrics, and other resources.