Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to experience hands-on science. Through our Life Science Bean Investigations and in-class investigations, I have literally “felt” the benefits of a hands-on experience. While we have often read about how powerful activities can be in the classroom, we don’t always have the opportunity (or time in the semester) to partake ourselves. I have been able to do this over the past few weeks and it is addicting. Not only have I found myself caring for my beans as if they were my pets, I have even lost a little sleep thinking about ways in which I could improve my investigation the next time.
During our in-class investigations, I have felt the frustration that comes with trial and error, the headaches that come with repeated failure, and the adrenaline rushes that accompany success. As a future educator, it is paramount that I know what these emotions feel like so that I can better understand what my students may feel when they participate a similar investigation.
However, I believe that my strongest development over the last few weeks centers around the use of science notebooks in the elementary classroom. I have really taken to the idea of utilizing the science notebook as a tool in any science curriculum. I believe that these notebooks, when utilized early and often in an appropriate fashion, provide powerful insights into how authentic scientists “do” science. My personal experiences during our in-class and out-of-class investigations, as well as my Life Science lesson planning, all have reinforced this thought process.
As we have read in Science Notebooks (Campbell & Fulton, 2003), the power of the science notebook is dependent on the philosophy of the classroom teacher. I want my students to know that their science notebooks are tools to their success in science. My recent lesson plans reflect this by utilizing the science notebook throughout.
I look forward to continuing my Life Science Investigation as well as beginning a Physical Science Investigation. All the while hypothesizing, documenting and questioning in my notebook.