The Student Workbook - Using Science Materials
Student lab workbooks contain appropriate lab sheets by grade for each cycle of the Integrating Science, Math, and Technology Program. The lab workbooks are more structured from the Second to Sixth grades. The workbooks will help guide the students through their weekly activities and will reinforce and strengthen what they are learning. The entries made by students will improve reading, penmanship, writing, and art skills. Using student lab sheets will help students formulate ideas of how to structure their answers. These workbooks can be downloaded as PDF files and can be printed with any copier. Student lab workbooks are not required and much of the information could be transformed to blank paper.
Students may find lab sheets difficult at first because they are not familiar with the open-ended questions nor reading directions and acting on them. Teachers should work on making the children understand that in higher grades they are expected to know how to do this skill. Familiarize your students with the lab sheets by having students read the problem aloud for the class. Take time for all students to record their own prediction on their lab sheet. Continue once everyone has completed this step. It is more important to encourage complete use of the student lab sheets rather than simply rushing through the activity.
Teach the students to work in small cooperative groups. Each student however is responsible for completing their own lab sheet. If you notice that lab sheets have "doodles" on them, assist this student to keep on task. Encourage students to write in complete sentences and to use descriptive drawings, words, numbers to better record their observations. Lab activities take approximately 50 minutes to compete.
Encourage students to proceed at their own pace. Once the lab has been introduced, allow students groups to continue on their own initiative testing their hypothesis. If students "forget what to do" encourage them to follow the directions on their lab sheet. Complete one task at a time. Encourage groups that finish their activity early to explore their own interest in other resources like reference books or computers.
Assessment of Student Lab Sheets
Do not necessarily grade student lab sheets for content. Grades can be given according to how students fill in the lab sheet. For example, a grade of A can be given if descriptive words, drawings, numbers, and complete sentences were used. Many activities do not have "correct" answers which are sometimes difficult for teachers to grade. Activities seek the studentís points of view and their observations and understanding are important.
When lab sheets are kept together in a portfolio style, these can be easily produced for parent conferences, accountability with school administrators. As students practice on lab sheets each week, they will also be surprised at their progress. When students put effort into these books, they can become a centerpiece at home and can be used to enhance their own interest.
Electronic Worksheets and Tests
These workbooks are available online and can be downloaded as a PDF. The online version of the I. Science MaTe Reference Curriculum contains electronic worksheets and tests. The worksheets can be printed out and submitted as a lab. The online tests can grade and score the tests. Unfortunately, the grades cannot be recorded. Other software is required to accomplish these time saving tasks.