Know your students: Implications for instruction
Kindergarten, first, and second grade students need many opportunities to participate in hands-on investigations based on discovery strategies. The hands-on activities should be followed by de-briefing discussions and sharing of results through verbalization, discussion, or drawing.
Activities using the five senses should be an integral part of science investigations for kindergartners. Observing patterns is also important. Some kindergarteners may have difficulty understanding that stories sometimes give plants and animals attributes they do not really have. Students of this age should be given direct experiences with living things to help them build their understandings of biological concepts.
First grade students need to make observations, investigate outcomes, and evaluate results. They should be encouraged to analyze, synthesize, and apply understandings in new situations. Teaching through games and hands-on activities can help students learn skills that workbooks do not. First graders may learn to use simple tools, but may not be able to use them with accuracy.
Projects can be successfully employed in the second grade classroom. You may find that many second grade students prefer to work alone or with a partner. Second grade students need time to repeat tasks, think, finish investigations, and come to closure. Opportunities to collect and categorize objects as the basis for logical thinking should be used frequently. There should be many activities in which students take things apart to discover how they work.