Science helps develop critical thinking skills of children.Learning how to research, collect information, design an experiment, and make conclusions on data you obtain helps develop that scientific mind. This program designed for Mattos Elementary School helps children not only learn about their local area, but to collect data over time and make conclusions. It is adapted from the award winning Integrating Science, Math and Technology Reference Curriculum.
The project starts in the fall and continues until March. Teachers start a long term data project and records data. Some of the grades repeat the experiment to determine if it is scientifically valid. They create data and graphs to interpret and make conclusions.
An important part of this project is to engage parents to help do hands-on supplemental activities that assist in children understanding the long-term project. Materials are housed in one of the science rooms to make sure they have access Parents are trained to teach appropriate age level, while adding inquiry, process, and hands-on activities.
Scientists at the Math Science Nucleus developed the lesson plans and activities. Training teachers and parents is an important part of keeping the program on schedule throughout the year.
The goals are accomplished in two ways:
1. Each grade from kindergarten through 5th grade participates in a long-term science experiment to be guided by the classroom teacher with support by MSN.The projects provide students with the opportunity to engage in real science by taking data readings over time and to use advanced thinking skills to determine their conclusions.
2. Six docent labs per grade level are taught by parent docents during the year. These labs provide additional support and background to the year-long experiment. Not only do the students get additional hands-on labs, but they get to see parent involvement and support for science. MSN provides training to the docents under the leadership of the Mattos PTA.