Planning and Teaching a Science Unit

teaching-life-cycles

I love to teach science in primary school it is one of my favourite subjects, the kids get so excited and the learning happens in such a big obvious way. 

I used to run in to problems with my science lessons however, I would have a topic for a term perhaps and plan out the lessons for that topic, but by midway through the topic would run out of steam. It always starts strong, a big exciting start to the lessons with an experiment maybe or examining something cool, but as the weeks go on the lessons become more routine and squashed to fit into the topic. 

I didn't want this to happen so I now plan complete units that keep the class interest going.

So how do I do this?

The first thing i do when given a topic is to think and list all the other sub-topics that go along with it. Then I assign a lesson each week to one of these subtopics, this way the lessons don't become boring and each week it is as if we were starting a brand new topic all over again! 

For example in my science unit on Life Cycles, I could have planned each lesson with a focus on learning about life processes as a whole. This wouldn't be a bad thing but it also wouldn't be very productive. So I picked different types of animals and each lesson in the unit focused on a different animal or group of animals. Before delving into each animal I start the unit with a knowledge harvest. This is great to get an idea about how much your students already know and where their particular interests lie. 

In my life cycle unit there are lessons on:

- Amphibians
- Frogs
- Insects
- Butterflies
- Birds
- Mammals
- Humans

Each lessons focuses on the particular life cycle of that animal or group of animals. Toward the end of the unit I have a lesson that compares the different types of life cycles against each other, looking for different and similar characteristics. I also end the unit with a round up lesson where the kids can put all the information they have learnt to good use by creating lap-books and interactive posters. 

life-cycles-of-animals

This is just an example but it is a really effective way to teach the topic of life cycles in a fun and engaging way. 

life-cycles-for-kids

 

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