Sunday, November 15, 2009

Standards Sundays: Grade 5 physical science

The photo doesn't exactly speak "science," but it does remind me of what my area of the lab benches looks like after four hours of college chemistry experiments: bunches of stuff scattered here and there, each pile representing an attempt at the experiment. Most of them were failures.

And in the end, I didn't end up being a pediatrician, as I had dreamed of doing my freshman year. Ah well.

The fifth grade physical sciences consist mainly of elements, their properties, and the structure of atoms and molecules. Every standard in this section begins with three words:

Students will know

Say what? How come these state mandates standards begin with the pedagogical word which is forbidden of all student teachers? Know is such a vague word. It is also low on Bloom's Taxonomy, lacking any higher order thinking skills. Which is a little backwards to me, since science is all about the higher order thinking skills.

I wonder why physics isn't included in the physical sciences. Ok, so atomic interactions is technically physics (transfer of energy between atoms, movement of electrons). But I think physics is a much bigger part of science than chemistry. Perhaps chemistry is just more readily teachable?

In any case, I intend to have one targeted science lesson each week in my classroom, no matter K or 6th grade. I'll probably have a couple integrated science lessons here and there too. And these science lessons aren't from the text either. Yeah, I know. Lots of prep associated with this, but it'll be worth it.

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