The challenge of teaching science topics

So many years ago I don’t even remember the exact year, I participated in a summer institute in Boston. That’s where I learned a lot about engaging kids through thematic science teaching; one of the best things I learned about was 321 Contact. Sadly this show’s run ended in the early 90s.

It was at the institute that I first saw a 321 Contact Special about the rain forest and biodiversity.   It was so impressive that I bought the video and boy, am I ever happy that I did.  I’ve shown this video in my classroom nearly every academic year and it never, ever has lost the ability to engage kids in learning about biodiversity and the importance of preserving earth’s resources.

Yesterday, as I watched the video with my students, there was another, even more relevant segment on the video — the impact of excessive carbon dioxide on our planet and the resulting warming. That’s right…. a video from the 1990s explaining Global Warming. I don’t know whether to be excited or frightened.

Or maybe saddened. Our students don’t get enough exposure to science. Including science activities in the day becomes more of an afterthought and time for something more than superficial background knowledge has to be carved out of a thoroughly packed day of mathematics and language arts.

This is wrong. Somehow incorporating science into my curriculum needs to be rethought and refocused on. Science is more than (as one superintendent wanted us to do) reading about it through small group instruction.

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