Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Science Organization

As I have shared in a few other posts, in my classroom we work on a different theme for science every month at our "science" station (see this post for picture of the science station).  In today's post, I mostly wanted to share if with you how I created this station and how I organize my materials.  Creating this station was not easy or quick.  It probably took me one full year to get everything done.  But, now I am so glad I did, because I am able to use the same materials every year (although I still add a few new things each year too).

The first thing I did was brainstorm as many science themes as I could and assigned them to different months that seemed appropriate.  For example, I started with body parts because this is pretty easy (and an important concept) and my students would need to know body parts before working on the 5-senses (which we work on in April).  


I came up with 9 vocabulary words for each theme and created a matching sheet and writing worksheets for the vocabulary.  Then, I started searching the internet for worksheets related to each topic.  I used a lot of enchanted learning and boardmaker share worksheets.  For everything I didn't find online, I created my own.  For the first year, I focused most of my worksheets on learning the vocabulary associated with each topic.  Once my kids got this down, I created worksheets that covered actual science concepts and learning facts about the topics.  So, for each topic, I am now able to create an advanced packet and beginner packet.

To organize all of my worksheets, I have put them into two binders.  They are categorized by month.  I have the vocabulary matching sheet in a toploading sheet, then the worksheets related to the theme (including science tests--a newer addition to the science station).

Next, I started writing grants through donors choose, because I knew my kids would be bored crazy if we only did worksheets every week in science.  So, using my science topics, I wrote grants for puzzles, games, hands-on activities, books, etc. Check out this post to see some tips on Donorschoose.  I organize all of these in plastic tubs I got at Target in a closet.  Each tub is labeled with the topic and month, and filled with hands-on activities for the theme.  




Each month, it is now super easy to set up our science unit...just make some photo copies of packets and pull out a tub of activities!  

9 comments:

  1. What a great idea....I like the idea of grant money to purchase the hands-on items

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  2. Thank you for showing how you organize and create a center. I find that very helpful. Do you do the same themes every year? How does that work with having students more than one year? Do they remember the material from the previous year? Do you need to "change it up" at all?

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    1. I do re-use the themes every year. I have students for 2-3 years, so the first year, I focus on vocabulary and the second/third year, we work on learning concepts about the topics. Each year, I try and add a few new worksheets/activities to keep things interesting and different!

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  3. YOU ARE AMAZING!!! I hope you do not mind that I am going to steal this idea of doing a science station! I LOVE it - How often do the students have science throughout the week?

    Also, how old are your students?

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    1. Definitely...steal away! haha. I have done science a couple different ways. I have had students do the station once a day and once a week...it just depended on the group of students/scheduling that worked out. My students are 3-4 grade, but I did this station when I had 1st and 2nd grade too. I also use the station with my coworker's 5-8th graders (she takes my students for social studies and I take hers for science). So, I guess it works well for pretty much any age!

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  4. Thanks for posting, I am doing thematic units next year for my student (yes, I will have ONE student) and am trying to decide how to organize by month. Thanks!
    Andrea

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  5. This topic and organization is just what I needed to see to get ideas for how to be more organized. I currently teach math and science to students who have mild-moderate needs. My curriculum set up is similar to that of other middle school math and science classrooms. Next year I am switching gears and going back to moderate-severe needs in a new autism program at my middle school and am having to teach everything again. I sometimes feel overwhelmed when thinking of what I need to do and then a post like this comes along, and clears it all up. I plan to use ULS (unique learning systems), which is broken up into themes, but they don't have science or social studies every month. I am using this because many of the themes are similar to what is being taught in my middle school science and SS classrooms. I am going to do just what you said and organize it all ahead of time.It will be a very busy summer but worth it, I hope, in the long run. Thanks again, and looking forward to your next post! I am also new to blogging: www.anautismconnection.blogspot.com, but of course have no idea what I am doing. Thanks!

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  6. This is great!! I have a hard time organizing/picking units from the gen ed curriculum to work on with my kids. This will help me so much. I have been overwhelmed my first year teaching and need to work on my organization this summer.

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  7. Would you ever consider sharing your worksheets or packets? I teach kindergarten and I have NO curriculum. Needless to say I've been a bit lost, and I LOVE your ideas.

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