Kids love science. They will tell you that it is fun and they get to “do” things when they have science at school. They are engaged and solve problems while learning. I wonder why science tends to be an overlooked or a missed subject and not always taught in the elementary grades. Science should be taught regularly and not overlooked in any classroom. After all, when students ask for it, let them “do” it.
AIMS Facilitator Sandee Vossler is doing this in her science classroom. She is a fourth-grade teacher at Independent School in Billings, MT. She has been teaching her students about the brain in science class. Sandee wants her students to achieve and understand how to use a model to describe “that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.” This is from the Montana state standards. There is also an NGSS standard almost identical to this: 4-LS1-2, which asks students to “Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.”
To cover the standard, Sandee worked with her fourth graders while they were doing the AIMS task “You’ve Got Some Nerve.” from the book “From Head to Toe” They were asked a key question to set the stage for the task. How can we model the method the brain uses to send and receive messages to and from parts of the body? The goal for them was to play a relay game to model the way the brain sends and receives signals to and from various parts of the body. The students did the investigation, wrote down the steps in their journal afterwards, and read the mini-content book (aka rubber-band book) that is part of the investigation.
When students “do” science and build their own knowledge, it is exciting for them. They will no doubt ask for more. AIMS tasks easily fit the three-dimensional learning model needed to cover NGSS. You can supplement them into your science curriculum like Sandee Vossler does and have your students “doing” science to get good understanding of the concepts and standards.