by Sherrie Roland
Last summer, Mike Sidebotham, principal at Grafton Village Elementary school asked me to consider implementing a special science program. Being the lead science teacher for four years, all I needed was this fantastic opportunity to become the 3rd grade Science Specialist. Grafton is the test and trial school to see if such a program is worth implementing county wide.
The best part is I get to teach Science to the entire 3rd grade... everyday! The program was originally created to develop a strong reading program. Taking portions of two classes at a time leaves the classroom teacher with small groups for guided reading instruction, while I get to instruct 4 full classes of happy learners daily. It's a win-win! This science program is a great success. The children are excited about the opportunity to do hands-on inquiry which is a wonderful learning tool. The students practice "thinking about science" by asking questions and learning that 'science' is all around. The children also learn that working with problems and having experiments fail is a normal part of the scientific process!
A surprise benefit of the program is how interested the girls have become in science. They carefully observe my instruction and have learned to touch all kinds of living organism without fear. I encourage each child to keep asking questions! Sometimes it is the girls in my class that are most surprised when I suggest they dig in the dirt to inspect the worms. The girls seem to be energized by the social part of science; working and learning together. They lead experiments and collaborate which builds the self-confidence girls often lack in science. It feels wonderful to be a role model to young girls in a male dominated field. It is my hope that all children get inspired by the world around them; to see that science is more than wearing a lab coat and mixing chemicals! The field of science is vast with many opportunities and career paths for boys and GIRLS!
"I have been inspired by Mrs. Roland and I think I want to be a science teacher, too." - Lauren M.
"Mrs. Roland makes science fun to learn every day!" – Morgan A.