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Launching Learners in Science, PreK-5

Launching Learners in Science, PreK-5
How to Design Standards-Based Experiences and Engage Students in Classroom Conversations

December 2006 | 240 pages | Corwin

"Expertly describes how educators can plan a science curriculum that facilitates primary students' understanding, skills, and development in science, preparing them for careers requiring any level of scientific knowledge and giving them science literacy to make decisions that benefit society and the world."
—Robert D. Sweetland, Professor, Wayne State College

Design science instruction that helps develop enthusiastic young minds while meeting national standards!

Teaching science means doing science and involves three elements: knowing content, knowing children, and teachers knowing themselves as teachers and learners. Kerry C. Williams and George E. Veomett describe principles and requirements that reflect National Science Education Standards for the active learning of science. They identify key ingredients for primary students and their development as young scientists.

This resource is linked to research on cognitive and neural development and motivational theory from the work of Piaget and Vygotsky. Teachers inexperienced in science will discover new ways to think about science while they develop lessons that are rich, fun, and authentic for themselves and their students.

All educators will find examples, questions, stories, and thought-provoking ideas to give students a strong start in science achievement, plus:

  • Six key elements to build into science instruction: observing, representing, organizing, patterning and questioning, experimenting, and sharing
  • How-to's for incorporating inquiry, workshops, centers, and projects in primary and elementary classrooms
  • A four-step system—choice, planning, doing, reviewing—that helps promote learning in science and across all subjects

Launching Learners in Science, PreK–5 helps educators teach science in a way that will expand their own confidence and let them make a lasting difference in children's lives!

About the Authors
Part I. Welcome to 'Launching Learners in Science'
1. Origin of 'Launching Learners in Science'
Knowing Science  
Knowing Children and How They Learn  
Knowing Structures That Facilitate Learning and Teaching Science  
Changing Emphases  
Outline of the NSES Science Content Standards  
I. Unifying Concepts and Processes  
IIA. Science as Inquiry  
IIIB. Physical Science Content Standards  
IIIC. Life Science Standards  
IVD. Earth and Space Science  
VE. Science and Technology  
VIF. Science in Personal and Social Perspective  
Conversation Starters  
2. The Nature of Science
What Is the Nature of Science?  
Science as a Body of Knowledge  
Sciences as Process  
Elements of the Scientific Process  
A Historical Example  
Science as Process in Elementary School  
Reviewing the Nature of Science in Elementary Education  
Conversation Starters  
3. Prior Beliefs, Efficacy, and Teaching Science
Influence of Experiences and Beliefs on Practice  
Reflecting on the Walls of Teaching Science  
Getting Around the Walls  
Wall #1: I Do Not Know Enough Science Content  
Wall #2: Students Need to Know the "Right Answers"  
Wall #3: I Don't Have Time to Teach Science  
@all #4: Active Science Lessons Disrupt My Classroom Management  
Reflecting on Your Own Science Walls  
Conversations Starters  
Part II. Construction Ahead! Influences on Learning
4. Maturation and Learning
Constructing Knowledge  
Piaget: The Interaction of Maturation and Experience  
Assimilation and Accommodation  
Equilibrium / Disequilibrium  
Stages of Cogitive Development  
Conversation Starters  
5. Social Interaction and Learning
Vygotsky and Social Interaction  
The Teacher's Role: Personal Educator  
Optimum Learning: The Zone of Proximal Development  
Identifying Students' Zones of Proximal Development  
Scaffolding: Stretching Without Pulling  
The Right Amount of Interaction  
The Controlling Guide  
The Dispassionate Guide  
The Effective Guide  
Social Interaction With Peers  
Conversation Starters  
6. Active Learning
Active Learning: Hands-On, Minds-On  
The Emotional Side of Active Learning  
The Ingredients for Active Learning  
Adult Support  
Conversation Starters  
Part III. Classroom Experiences
7. Key Science Experiences
The Key Science Experiences  
A Wheel of Key Science Experiences  
Detecting Patterns and Questioning  
Putting It All together  
The Key Science Experiences and Maturation  
Scaffolding for the Teacher  
Conversation Starters  
8. Thinking Routines
Getting "In To" the Learning in the Classroom  
Staying Active in the Learning  
Going Deeper Within the Learning  
Why Use Thinking Routines?  
Maturation and Thinking Routines  
Scaffolding Within Thinking Routines  
Scaffolding With Language  
Scaffolding With Tools  
Scaffolding With the Environment  
Gathering Your Balloons  
Conversation Starters  
9. Planning Science Workshops
What Is a Science Workshop?  
Whole-Group Instruction  
Thinking About Creating Workshops  
A Sample Workshop Unit  
Scaffolding Within Workshops  
Scaffolding Content  
Scaffolding for Student Needs: Differentiation  
Scaffolding the Key Science Experiences  
Tips for Getting Started With Workshops  
Why Workshops?  
Creating Your Own Workshops -- A Checklist  
Before a Unit  
Before a Workshop  
Conversation Starters  
Part IV. Science Is a Community Affair
10. Assessment
Formative Assessment  
Features of Formative Assessment  
Formative Assessment and Motivation  
Task Orientation and Ego Involment  
Tools of Formative Assessment  
Helping Students Self-Assess  
Questioning as a Type of Formative Assessment  
Anecdotal Note Taking  
Student Journals  
Summative Assessments  
The Why of Assessing  
Conversation Starters  
11. Access to Science in a Classroom
Science Studios  
Access to Science  
Access to Materials  
Types of Materials  
Collecting and Organizing Materials  
Why Is Access to Materials Important?  
Supporting Students' Work With Materials  
Access to Science Spaces  
Physical Space  
Emotional Safety  
Adequate Time for Investigation  
Celebrations of Accomplishments  
Access to People  
Support From Teachers  
Collaboration With Peers  
Family Involvement  
Community Resources  
Access to the World  
Field Trips  
The Great Outdoors  
The Best of Both Worlds: Laboratories and Studios for Children  
Conversation Starters  
12. Connections to Curriculum
Your Foundation: The Science Curriculum  
Study Your District Objectives  
Plan Units Around the Objectives  
The Next Layer: Integration  
Making the Curriculum Your Own  
Conversation Starters  
Part V. Resources
Resource A: Safety
Safety in the Classroom  
Safety and Active Learning  
Some "Absolute Musts"  
Resource B: Literature
Children's Literature  

"Expertly describes how educators can plan a science curriculum that facilitates primary students’ understandings, skills, and affective development of science, preparing them for careers requiring any level of scientific knowledge and giving them science literacy to make decisions that benefit society and the world."

Robert D. Sweetland, Professor
Wayne State College

"Has a brilliantly effective, yet conversational style that engages the reader, offers content that is easy to grasp, and makes sense to all beginning and veteran teachers seeking to understand constructive pedagogy. Not a how to do book, rather a how to think book that provides solid information about thought processes and approaches to learning."

Rae Johnson Brown, Learning Community Facilitator, Secondary Education
Wayne State College
Key features

Marketing Features


  • Packed on every page with thought provoking ideas and examples
  • Explains a 4 Step system --Choice, Planning, Doing, Reviewing-- that has great research results for student self regulation and learning across all subjects
  • Shows teachers how to incorporate inquiry and science workshops into primary classrooms
  • Helps teachers give students a strong start in science achievement

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ISBN: 9781412937030
ISBN: 9781412937023

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