Help creating a science teacher newsletter GRADE 4

Generate a “science” newsletter for your parents that will demonstrate your own review, study and understanding of the concepts/theories/models and instructional strategies. for 4th grade


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Role- Teacher
Format- Newsletter
Task- see the following summary and then specific criteria.
Generate a “science” newsletter for your parents that will demonstrate your own review,
study and understanding of the concepts/theories/models and instructional strategies.
Include the following information:
1.) What, Why, & How your students will learn science content and procedural skills during
the school year.
2.) Assessment Philosophy
3.) Explain why and how Health, mathematics, reading, technology and writing will be
integrated in facilitating the learning of science in your class.
4.) Generate a section which is “just for the fun of it” for parents and/or students.
5.) Insert relevant clip art, drawings, illustrations, graphs, quotes and/or pictures that
enhance the newsletters’ content.
You will be assessed on the following criteria:
What, Why, & How
Content strands and procedural skills-SOL’s/Frameworks (the Big Ideas and Essential Skills
students will learn; align with your lesson’s focus)
Project 2061 & NSES (how do the NSES and Project 2061 benchmarks guide the development
of SOL’s; what are myths (alternative concepts) related to Nature of Science)
Inquiry-based learning (what is inquiry based learning, how does it “look”, “sound” , “feel”)
4-question strategy to facilitate inquiry skills (what, why, and how—use an example in your
Experimental Design (how will students communicate their experiments and demonstrate
science process skills)
The Learning Cycle 5E Model for Teaching and Learning (what is this model, how does it guide
a teacher to develop inquiry-based, constructivist lessons/units, how is it student centered,
give an example)
Note: Use examples whenever possible …remember parents may not understand
educational jargon: and/or non-traditional methods of facilitating science learning.
Assessment Philosophy
Feel free to research for other articles.
Compose an article which explains your assessment philosophy in the science classroom. Be
sure to cite resources. Include examples that parents might expect to see during the year.
Integrating Across Curricula
Why and how will health, mathematics, reading, writing, and/or technology be integrated in
science learning?
Cite examples that parents may see during the course of the school year
“Free Choice “
Include a few of the following:
Interactive Sites for parents & students.
Informative article links for parents to read
Information related to brain research as discussed in Marilee’s article
A demonstration, discrepant event, or experiment to try at home
Keeping up…
…with Mrs. Kidd’s kids!
Welcome to 4th grade
February/March 2015
Hello from Room 48!
Please allow me the opportunity to introduce myself!
My name is Mrs. Susan Kidd and I have been
given the pleasure and privilege to be your child’s
teacher this year! We have an exciting year ahead
of us, full of exploration, investigation, and
discovery (just the like the Doctor and his
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you,
our parents, family, and caregivers, some important
information regarding the material we will be covering this year.
Additionally, I wanted to provide some background information on how we
will be approaching the process of learning in our classroom. This year we will
be focusing on inquiry-based, hands-on, minds-on instruction!
I encourage you to ask your student about our discussions and activities in
class. Additionally, if you, or a family member, has any personal areas of
science-related expertise or educationally related experiences you would like to
share with our class, please contact me so that we can set up a time for you to
come in as a Guest Lecturer!
Finally, if at any time you have questions regarding the curriculum,
coursework, or activities please do not hesitate to contact me. I thoroughly
enjoy working with your students!
Mrs. Susan Kidd
School phone number 757-867-5309
“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.”
Yoda, Attack of the Clones
Volume 1, Issue 1
Page 2 SOLs, “BIG” ideas &
Essential skills
Current Unit
Page 3 Project 2061, NSES
Page 4 Myths
Page 5 Inquiry-based Learning
4-Question Strategy
Page 6 The Learning Cycle
Experimental Design
Page 7 Integrated Curriculum
Page 8 Educational Resources
Science is Fun!
Page 9 References
Important Dates!
5 – Science Fair project idea due
12 – Field trip money DUE!
17 – Science Club Meeting
25 – Class pictures!
3 – Science Fair Investigations
17 – Science Fair Data
21 – Science Club Meeting
29 – Science Fair Exhibition!
Mrs. Kidd’s Science Newsletter
Page 2 of 9
SOL’s-“BIG” ideas & Essential skills
We have an exciting year of discovery and investigations ahead of us! Within all of our units, we will continue to develop our
scientific reasoning and logic skills as well as our understanding of the nature of science. Below you will find a list of the
topics, along with a few highlights from each unit, your student will explore and discover over the course of 4 th grade.
Force, Motion, and Energy
Force and Motion: direction and speed, force and mass, friction, and kinetic energy.
Electricity: conductors and insulators, basic circuits, static electricity, energy transformations, and simple electromagnets and
Life Processes
Basic plant anatomy and life processes including the structures and functions within typical plants, plant reproduction,
and photosynthesis.
Living Systems
Organization of plant and animal populations, communities, and ecosystems and how they interrelate; food webs, habitats and
niches, the life cycle (specifically frogs and butterflies!), and human influence on ecosystems.
Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems
Weather conditions, measurements, and phenomena.
Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change
Planets within our Solar System and the relationships among Earth, the moon, and the sun.
Earth Resources, specifically Virginia’s natural resources including our watersheds, water resources, animals, plants,
minerals, rocks, ores, energy sources, forests, soil, and land.
Our Current Science Unit:
Motion & Speed!
Drivers, Start Your Engines! Let’s get ready to explore SPEED!
VA SOL 4.2 The student will investigate and understand characteristics and interactions of moving objects. Key
concepts include: a) motion is described by an object’s direction and speed;
The following instructional, or measurable, outcomes are those things that your student will be able to demonstrate and
I will be able to assess at the end of the unit. For this unit, they will be able to:
? describe the position of an object.
? collect and display in a table and line graph time and position data for a moving object.
? explain that speed is a measure of motion.
? interpret data to determine if the speed of an object is increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same.
The essential understandings are the “BIG” ideas and concepts that your student should come away with after we
complete our unit. They are as follows:
? The position of an object can be described by locating it relative to another object or to the background.
? Tracing and measuring an object’s position over time can describe its motion.
? Speed describes how fast an object is moving.
We are beginning our exploration and investigation into “speed” with the following three essential questions.
1. To what extent is motion described by an object’s speed?
2. How might we prove motion is described by an object’s speed?
3. How might we investigate how fast an object is moving?
As we move through our exploration and investigation, the students will very likely develop additional questions, as
they seek clarification, which, time permitting, we will work to investigate as well!
?Are you ready? ?Get Set! ? GO!
Mrs. Kidd’s Science Newsletter
Page 3 of 9
Project 2061: The Nature of Science & National Science Education Standards
Project 2061 produced two ground-breaking reports, Science for All Americans and the Benchmarks for Science Literacy.
I’m sharing the following information with you because it directly relates to your student’s education! The primary mission
behind Project 2061 is that all Americans will obtain scientific literacy. To that end, Project 2061 developed benchmarks
detailing what all students should understand in science, mathematics, and technology by the end of grades 2, 5, 8, and 12.
The National Science Education Standards (NSES) were developed after careful review of Project 2061’s benchmarks. These
standards in turn were used in developing the Virginia Science Standards of Learning (SOL).
To briefly summarize Project 2061, the nature of science is the marriage of the fields of
science, mathematics, and technology which creates the foundation for the scientific
“Do. Or do not.
pursuit. Within the science literacy curriculum, the following should be considered.
There is no try.”
Importance should be placed on understanding how scientists engage in research and
experiments, as well as the potential for any limitations said research may carry so as to
have a more objective eye when evaluating scientific conclusions. Individuals are more
likely to develop a life-long interest in scientific research and studies when they
understand basic scientific principles and how the scientific process operates. The study of science must be redefined in our
classrooms to incorporate the broader concept of science as a way of constructing knowledge instead of merely a laundry list
of laws, theories, and concepts. An educator’s mission is to present a well-rounded curriculum combining the means for
acquiring scientific knowledge with the philosophy and sociology of science to construct knowledge through the scientific
process. Younger students should be encouraged to do science! An
emphasis should be made on conducting investigations, explaining
their results, and reflecting on the process.
Students should
increasingly inquire as to how we know that something is true!
Scientists are not spending their time talking about Science, they are
doing Science!
*I’ve provided a link to these three documents under educational resources if you’d like additional information.
The Doctor
Mrs. Kidd says…
We are!!
Amelia Pond,
the Doctor’s
Companion, agrees!
Mrs. Kidd’s Science Newsletter
Page 4 of 9
Widely held Myths about the Nature of science”
There are many Myths (alternative concepts) related to the Nature of Science. “All those involved with science teaching
and learning should have a common, accurate view of the nature of science. Science is characterized by the systematic
gathering of information through various forms of direct and indirect observations and the testing of this information by
methods including, but not limited to, experimentation. The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of
naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts.” The following are a few of the myths that we
are working to dispel within our classroom!
MYTH – Evidence Accumulated Carefully will Result in Sure Knowledge – FALSE!
TRUTH – Science relies on Empirical Evidence.
Science requires evidence which is obtained directly from our five senses; our sense of sight, smell, taste, touch, and what
we hear. Whether these direct sensory observations are our own or those of others, we trust the means with which the
information was obtained. When someone tells us that the milk has gone bad, how do we know? We use our senses. The
first, and less painful, is to check the expiration date with our sight. We can also look to see if the milk has begun to curdle.
We can sometimes smell it, but occasionally it may just be the residue around the rim. Therefore, we may pour some into a
glass and smell again. The very brave will even taste it. We trust our empirical evidence obtained through our senses that
the milk has in fact soured. However, while we were able to obtain enough observations in the above example to infer that
the milk has soured, it is never a “sure” thing. We cannot declare with certainty that empirical evidence will always be
available in every circumstance or that we can observe every piece of empirical evidence related to a particular situation.
MYTH – Science is Procedural More than Creative – FALSE!
TRUTH – Doing Science is a Creative Enterprise.
Shocking, but true…there is no single method for scientific exploration. Science requires some measure of creativity. How
else would we even begin to come up with the new and unexplored ideas? Scientific exploration often happens in anything
but a linear fashion. Exploration may lead researchers to unexpected results, and therefore new questions and ideas to
explore. Researchers have to be willing to expect the unexpected, apply creativity, in order to reach undiscovered
knowledge. How many times have we heard that something was discovered on accident? Hybrid flowers…someone had to
think outside of the box and say, I wonder what would happen if… Science is at times an artistic endeavor.
MYTH – Science and its Methods Provide Absolute Proof – FALSE!
TRUTH – Scientific Knowledge is never proven, It is Tentative, but Durable.
Scientific knowledge is never truly proven. It is continually tested and tested in an attempt to refute it. New information is
continually gained; therefore we must continue to test of scientific knowledge with this new information. It is a neverending cycle. The more something is tested, the more times and the more individuals that reach the same conclusions, the
more confidence we have in our results. However, scientists understand that because we are all individuals, we may observe
results differently. If you ask someone what color the sky is, you may receive myriad answers: blue, sky blue, robin’s egg
blue, white and blue…what if it’s sunset? You might hear that it is orange, red, purple, looks like sherbet… What is right? As
our environment changes, pollution levels rise, or depending on location…answers may vary immensely. Science is never
finite…it is fluid, flexible, and requires continual examination.
MYTH – Scientists are Particularly Objective – FALSE!
TRUTH – Scientists cannot be completely objective.
Scientists are human first and foremost. Therefore they bring to science an inherent level of bias as a result of personal
experiences. Additionally, no two individuals are alike, therefore what one person observes and describes in one manner
another may describe differently. Complete objectivity is not a possibility in science. As human beings, our outlook is
formed as a result of a collective mishmash of experiences throughout our developmental years. It is unrealistic to believe
that those experiences will not color our interpretation of observations.
MYTH – Science and its Methods Can Answer All Questions – FALSE!
TRUTH – Science cannot answer all questions.
Science can only attempt to answer questions that can be proven or refuted. Therefore science cannot answer questions of
opinion or belief, such as theological, ethical, or moral debates. It is not possible to prove or refute how one feels, we can
only prove or refute those things which have the potential to be false. How someone feels, cannot be refuted. Science
cannot prove or refute when life begins when in the context of moral or religious values. Different sides believe differently
based on an unmeasurable scale.
Mrs. Kidd’s Science Newsletter
Page 5 of 9
Inquiry-based Learning in our Classroom!
Inquiry-based learning allows students to explore
and tap into their prior knowledge and
understanding to generate questions and predictions
which they will then try to verify through hands-on
Inquiry implies involvement that leads to
understanding. Furthermore, involvement in learning implies
possessing skills and attitudes that permit you to seek resolutions
to questions and issues while you construct new knowledge.
Full inquiry involves asking a simple question, completing an
investigation, answering the question, and presenting the results
to others. There are six (6) steps: Inquisition (I wonder…),
Acquisition, Supposition (I think…), Implementation (I try, I
investigate, I record…), Summation (I discover…), and Exhibition
(I reflect…). So what does this look like in our classroom and
what does this mean for your student? Science in our classroom
means asking questions, talking about discoveries, and getting
excited about our findings! So if you stop by our classroom, don’t
be surprised if you hear a lot of chatter, see students moving from
station to station, and feel an excited hum in the air…that’s not
chaos! We’re learning! ?
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but of the lifelong attempt to
acquire it.” – Albert Einstein March 24, 1954
Learning is an active, not a passive process!
4-Question Strategy
“Caution! Scientists in the making!”
1, 2, 3, 4
The 4-question strategy is a method to help students design effective investigational questions. It also facilitates
brainstorming which leads to further variables, constants, and hypotheses to be investigated. This strategy helps put the
learning process into the hands of the student, not the teacher! We’re developing scientists in our classroom! ?
For example, in class I proposed the following question to the students, How many drops of water fit on the head side of a
penny? We recorded the students’ estimations before they carried out the investigation. Each student counted the number
of drops of water they were able to place on the head side of the penny. I then introduced the 4-question strategy…
Question 1: How did the “water drop” act?
Answers included: Stayed together, bubbled, attracted to each other, wiggled, it spilled, reluctant to leave dropper
Question 2: What materials are readily available for conducting experiments on “water drop”?
Answers included: water, penny, dropper
Question 3: How might we change the set of “water drop” materials to affect the action?
Answers included:
Water: tap vs soapy, 40° vs 90° vs 120°, 1 tsp salt vs 2 tsp salt vs 3 tsp, distilled water vs tap water, 1 tsp sugar vs 2 tsp vs 3
tsp, bottled mineral water vs tap water, seltzer water vs tap water, oil vs water, flavored water vs not flavored
Dropper: dropper vs straw, plastic vs glass, different volumes of droppers, different measured heights/distance (3 cm vs 6
cm vs 9 cm vs 12 cm), amount of pressure applied, dominant hand vs not dominant, diameter of opening of dropper
Penny: tails vs heads, different mints-1995 vs 2000 vs 2005 vs 2010, 1 vs 2 side by side vs 3 side by side, stack of five
pennies vs a single penny, plastic vs real, defaced vs not, flatten penny vs not flatten
Question 4: How might we measure or describe the response of “water drop” to the change?
Answers included: 3 of drops that fit, volume of water, circumference of the bubble, height, shakes per drop
As you can see by the numerous variables your students came up with, they are quite inquisitive! They are well on their way
to becoming scientists! The last step in their journey? State a question to investigate! They narrowed it down to three.
1. Does adding salt (1 tsp vs 2 tsp vs 3 tsp) affect the number of drops that will fit on the head side of a penny?
2. Does temperature (40° vs 90° vs 120°) affect the number of drops that will fit?
3. Does a flattened penny vs not affect the number of drops that will fit?
I’ll let you know in the next newsletter what your scientists discover through these new scientific investigations! ?
Mrs. Kidd’s Science Newsletter
The Learning Cycle
Learning is a process of reflecting on our experiences and
then building upon them. Wit …
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