Learning Science by Doing Science
10 Classic Investigations Reimagined to Teach Kids How Science Really Works, Grades 3-8
- Alan Colburn - California State University, Long Beach, USA
Science Methods | Science Methods
Time-tested activities to teach the key ideas of science—and turn students into scientists!
Science education is becoming more rigorous than ever, but that doesn’t have to make it more difficult. In this straightforward and witty book, Alan Colburn has adapted classic investigations to help students in grades 3 through 8 truly think and act like scientists. Chapter by chapter, this accessible primer walks you through classic science investigations, discussing how each one illustrates a “big idea” about the nature of science, and offering clear links to the Next Generation Science Standards and its Science and Engineering Practices. You’ll also find:
- A reader-friendly overview of the NGSS
- Guidance on adapting the activities to your grade level, including communicating instructions, facilitating discussions, and managing safety concerns
- Case studies of working scientists to highlight specifics about the science and engineering practices.
With this elemental guide, you’ll teach your students not just what scientists do, but how scientists think—giving them the 21st-century skills they need to become the next generation of scientists.
“Now that the real work of NGSS implementation has begun, there is a high demand for quality instructional resources that show how core ideas and concepts, practices, and the nature of science come together in meaningful, intellectually engaging science investigations supported with content and pedagogical background information for the teacher. Thank you Alan Coburn for providing a resource that addresses the challenges and practical reality of transitioning to quality classroom instruction that mirrors our current best thinking about teaching and learning science.”
— Page Keeley, Past-President of the National Science Teachers Association
"Now that the real work of NGSS implementation has begun, there is a high demand for quality instructional resources that show how core ideas and concepts, practices, and the nature of science come together in meaningful, intellectually engaging science investigations supported with content and pedagogical background information for the teacher. Thank you Alan Coburn for providing a resource that addresses the challenges and practical reality of transitioning to quality classroom instruction that mirrors our current best thinking about teaching and learning science."
“A lot of research points to elementary teachers not feeling comfortable with science education because they don’t have strong background knowledge in science. This book provides an easy to understand method of teaching elementary students how to do science. The sample activities and implementation pointers will help novice teachers approach science education in a thoughtful manner.”
“Most books of this sort concentrate on theory. This one includes practice, and well thought out and explained examples of how to get your students to meet the chapters’ objectives… Elementary teachers may do little to no science teaching that doesn’t involve reading the book and answering the questions. This is a ‘how to’ manual for hands-on, minds-on science inquiry.”
“I think this would be a great book for college classes in teacher education. Future teachers can think about this before ever beginning teaching and go into [it] with the expectation that this is how they should approach science teaching.”
“Many science teachers are struggling when planning using the NGSS. The alignment is not evident. This book shows how to establish connections between science content and the standards (NGSS).”
“The classroom practitioner's path to authentic, effective science teaching is littered with cast-off ‘how-to’ manuals that are too dense, too pedantic, and too variable. Not in this case. Dr. Alan Colburn builds meaningful context using familiar and accessible activities in a relatable, charmingly modest conversational tone, equipping elementary and middle school science teachers with a trifecta—a firm grounding in the key tenets of science, immediately deliverable classroom activities, and alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards.”
Dr. Colburn has taken common activities used in classrooms and expertly retools them utilizing the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) while modeling components of the 5E lesson design and making explicit connections to the Nature of Science (NOS). This book is a must read for new and experienced science educators and expands the connections and possibilities of familiar activities in the new NGSS context.
Sample Materials & Chapters
Chapter 1 - Take Us Out, Mr. Data
Chapter 3 - I've Got a Theory About That