Science is a wonderful subject to teach! This spring, I have the opportunity to teach a science class to my kindergarten and elementary students. I’m so excited because science was my favorite subject when I was a student. It’s so much fun doing the experiments and learning more about our natural world!
I will teach using the textbook, Science grade 1, published by Houghton-Mifflin publishing company. It’s a standard textbook for schools and great for teaching ESL. Most of my students are very proficient and most of the terms, concepts and comprehension questions are easily understood.
There are small projects and experiments for the students to complete and a few of the resources needed are easily found. Not only does this book have easy-to-understand material, but the pictures provide nice visual examples, and the workbook pages that complement the text help reinforce what’s been learnt.
How do you teach science to kindergarten and elementary students?
Science, learning through experience, is a fun way for children to learn about the world. Here are a few tips for ESL teaches who may teach this subject either now, or in the future:
1. Be excited! If you are excited to teach the subject, your students will be excited to learn.
2. Introduce and review new vocabulary. When you introduce new terms, especially that are subject-specific, keep them to short lists. Review those lists often and have the students repeat each word after you. Be clear in your pronunciation and make sure your students are just as clear, it may take some work, though.
3. Incorporate phonics into the lesson. Many terms in science are great for teaching phonics – consonant and vowel sounds, diphthongs, silent letters, prefixes and suffixes, and even consonant blends and r-controlled words.
4. Encourage using the new vocabulary when describing things. Science is descriptive, and having the students practice using their newly-learned vocabulary words is great for helping them develop speaking skills and helps broaden the way they describe things.
5. Help the students develop thinking and sequencing skills. Students, I believe, should be taught how to think more so than what to think. Teaching science is the perfect way to help your students learn to think in different ways, develop information processing and sequencing skills. If they can grasp basic sequencing skills – such as asking and answering basic questions about plants and animals – they are able to further develop those skills into solving problems on their own later on.
Finally, take things slowly. Don’t push too much information at one time, the students won’t be able to handle it all. Teach ideas and concepts in small amounts, and asking the students questions for comprehension shortly after you’ve explained the idea. The students will learn in time and with consistent review, checking for retention and comprehension, they will be better for it.