Learning occurs best when it’s interactive. Most preschools and many lower elementary classrooms use a learning center-based approach to instruction. For the science center, science tubs or exploration kits work well.
The originators of the science tub method patterned it on the math tubs concept (math activities and manipulatives stored in tubs and organized by activity). Math Their Way and Math: A Way of Thinking (Bob Baratta-Lorton) were the originators of this innovative approach to math. Math Their Way is developed in response to special education students’, particularly learning disabled students’ need for hands-on manipulatives instead of paper and pencil activities. MTW concepts work beautifully for science as well.
Science tubs or kits, store materials by unit theme. Science tubs are basically plastic bins are filled with materials and resources appropriate to that unit or theme. Science tubs are self-contained exploration kits that include all things that a student will need to complete a project, activity or lesson. Science tubs stack nealty in a classroom or homeschool closet. When it’s time to teach that particular unit, out comes the science tub. Many middle school and high school science teachers have created science tubs that contain science experiment equipment. Students complete lists of assignments and experiments by selecting the appropriate tub, completing the activity or experiment and keeping science lab notes in a personal journal.
As a homeschooler, I didn’t have room for science tubs, so I used large one and two gallon-sized Ziploc zippered plastic bags. These zippered bags store well in a large plastic bin. Whether you use science tubs or Ziploc bags, each should be labeled according to unit. I suggest labeling with other linked units also. For example, my Rocks and Minerals science tub is also labeled with companion unit names: ‘Geology’, ‘Solar System’, ‘Geography’, because the science tub contains materials that I might use when teaching those units, too. I also label exactly what items are included in the science tub. I keep several related books in the science kit also. Montessori teachers will like the science tub or kit system. Many lessons and activities are set out on mats in a Montessori Classroom. It’s very easy to set out the science tub on a mat for students to explore and interact with.
Watch for upcoming articles on science tubs ways to use them in the classroom. For more on Math Their Way, visit my attached blogs.