Science resources for teaching younger learners

As a SciLinks webwatcher, I have the opportunity to look at many web-based project sites during the process of adding resources to the database. Many of the projects focus on high school science, but I recently discovered two that feature activities and investigations for younger students.

Marvelous Explorations Through Science and Stories: MESS® was developed by a consortium headed by the Florida Museum of Natural History. There are 10 units for young learners (ages 3-5), available as PDF files. The units focus on science-related topics (e.g., Investigating Water, Animals, My Body My Senses, Physical Science) and incorporate activities that can also be done at home. The Introduction to MESS describes how to support science learning and experiences for young learners and also how to implement the units. It also describes the units in detail. The Educator’s Guide for each unit or topic follows a similar format with a list of concepts, teacher background information on the topic, key vocabulary, ideas for setting up centers, and several “Experiences” or lessons. For each of experiences there is an “aim” or purpose, vocabulary, suggestions for a large group activity, activities for science centers, interdisciplinary connections, and a take-home card to share with parents and caregivers. The Materials document for each unit has an illustrated list of materials and an annotated list of books related to the topics. [SciLinks has additional resources related to most of the experiences. For example, What Are Forces?, Living Things, The Human Body, Adaptations of Animals]

My first teaching assignment was 8th grade physical science. I wish Middle School Chemistry had been available then! This site from the American Chemical Society has topics found in middle school chemistry curricula: Matter, Changes of State, Density, the Periodic Table and Bonding, the Water Molecule, and Chemical Changes. Each unit has illustrated 5E lesson plans annotated for the teacher, student activity pages, a student reading page, and related multimedia (presentations, additional graphics, and animations). All of the resources can be downloaded. (I found that some of the animations are in the Flash format and did not display on my iPad.) In addition to the investigations, I like the Student Reading document for each chapter. The site suggests using this “to extend student comprehension after completing the lesson.” As a PDF file, students can read it anytime and it provides a summary and additional explanations of the concepts. There is also a link to a master list of materials for all six chapters. This is helpful for ordering and organizing, and most of the items are readily available from supermarkets, craft stores, or discount stores. Even though this is designed for middle level students, I suspect that high school students who have never studied physical science would benefit from some of the resources and activities, too. [SciLinks has additional resources related to most of the chapter topics. For example, Chemical Properties of Matter, States of Matter, Density, Chemical Bonding, Periodic Table, Chemical Reactions]

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One Comment

  1. Mary Bigelow
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Just discovered Physics Central from the American Physical Society with graphics, animations, and podcasts on topics such as electricity and magnetism, forces and motion, light and optics, quantum mechanics, waves and sound, and optics.

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