The best place to start scientific classroom discovery, is by taking your students on journeys, outside of the classroom. Label your trips “field work” to formulate scientific questions, and to hypothesize about the different types of exploration and experimentation which can be modeled back in the classroom!
Field Trip Adventures
I’ve listed my student’s favorite nationwide, scientific-based field trips below, many of which will have special programs available for your children. These are designed to tie into grade-specific school curriculum, in conjunction with your state’s academic content standards.
1) NASA Educator Resource Centers, listed by state, online at http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/k-4/contacts/ERCN_State_Listing.html
2) Aquariums, Safaris, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Preserves and Zoo’s in the USA, listed by state, online at http://www.officialusa.com/stateguides/zoos/
3) Libraries in the USA, listed by state, online at http://www.officialusa.com/stateguides/libraries/index.html
4) Museums in the USA, listed by state, on Wikipedia.com, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_in_the_United_States
5) Science Centers and Museums in the USA, not organized by state, but alphabetically listed by name of center or museum, on Wikipedia.com at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_science_museums_in_the_United_States
6) Your local county fair, farmer’s market, pumpkin patch, corn maze, roadside produce stand, farm, dairy, or ranch.
Sustainability through Gardening and Nutrition
Sustainability science is a valuable life skill, which really needs be taught to our young children, in all school districts, nationwide. Children should not have to go hungry, because we can teach them how to grow their own food. Shouldn’t we take advantage of the fact that kids love to explore by digging in the dirt, and feeling the soil in their hands?
Take a trip to your local dairy farm, horse ranch, zoo, or farmer’s market to see American sustainability at it’s finest. Then find a small plot of land on school grounds, to plant and grow fall berries and veggies. Add magnifying glasses for close soil and crop examination, after thoroughly running magnets through the dirt, for trace metals and mineral-viewing.
Grow herbs from seeds indoors, in pots, or Dixie cups, for easy classroom sustainability lessons in planting and growing. Then take your class to the next level with health and nutrition lessons, as in the articles listed below.
1) “High-Water-Volume Fruits & Vegetables Kids Can Grow in Home Gardens” http://look.ac/dg8nR5
2) “All Natural Pest Control Tips for Organic Gardens” http://look.ac/b4Zh9b
3) “Health and Nutrition Lesson Plans for School-Age Kids K-8” http://look.ac/c3faoh
4) “Healthy Foods and Nutrition Lesson Plans for Preschoolers” http://look.ac/98bAT1
On Planet Earth and Beyond
Children are fascinated by outer space, the solar system, and our place on planet earth! A trip to the NASA Educator Resource Center is the best place to start. Your students will get back to class ready to perform advanced mathematical equations, or at least scaled-down versions, for classroom space-travel adventures and re-creations.
Your local NASA Space Center will encourage questions and wonderings, with grade-appropriate projects, tours, posters, and handouts. I have had students on NASA field trips ranging in ages from 2 to 16 years, who enjoyed it equally. For more hands-on science get your younger students involved with these fun science lesson plans.
1) “Exciting Preschool Geology Lessons” http://look.ac/9BDkCb
2) “A Preschooler’s Guide to Our Solar System” http://look.ac/bgwCcC
3) “Outdoor Fall & Winter Science Activities & Crafts for Kids” http://look.ac/byBsRQ
4) “Celebrate Smokey the Bear’s Birthday While Teaching Back-To-School Fire Safety!” http://look.ac/ae2rTe
Field trips can inspire your students to ask more questions, while learning how to scientifically problem-solve. Then listen to their ideas for worthwhile, results-based experiments, and assist them throughout their scientific pursuits.