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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Science Program at Colegio Menor

           As a kid, science experiments are incredibly fascinating and memorable. For this reason, I was very happily surprised to see how extensive and interactive the science program is at Colegio Menor. In just four months, the students learned about and interacted with live guppies, goldfish, land snails, water snails, isopods and quail. Science lessons are a great way to use academic content to reinforce English vocabulary and oral and written English. For the guppy and goldfish unit, the students focused on the Venn diagram. After observing and discussing the characteristics of each fish, they then learned how to compare and contrast what they had observed. The teacher guided the lesson as she organized their conversations on the rug into a Venn diagram. This graphic organizer not only helped to teach the students about each fish, but also helped to expand their vocabulary and comparing and contrasting skills. The land and water snail unit also developed their ability to observe and discuss similarities and differences. The teacher held races for the land snails, in which the students recorded the amount of time for each snail to move from the center to the edge of the circle. These races initiated conversation among t the students about how fast and how far land snails travel compared to water snails. In a full-class lesson, the teacher organized their findings in a T-chart, another graphic organizer. Lastly, the students worked with quail. The students observed each stage of development of the quail, starting with the eggs in the incubator to egg hatches to baby quail. The students drew a picture of the quail at each stage of development. When the eggs hatched, the students wrote short stories with drawings about the quail. This was a great way for the students to take what they were learning in science and use writing to continue working with the academic content. The students loved writing about the quail because it was an opportunity to use their imagination to determine the future of the quail. By the end of each unit, instead of using Spanish words to refer to Tier 3 words such as branquia and concha, and began to use specialized vocabulary such as gill and shell. In sum, after the hands-on activities with animals, the students retained what they had learned because the learning experience was tremendously meaningful and memorable. Science lessons are a great opportunity to make learning interactive and engaging.

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