Third graders have a hard time comprehending what concepts like 30 minutes, a half second or 5 years really means. So imagine how tough it is for them to wrap their brains around things that happened thousands, or millions, or even hundreds of millions of years ago!
Our students are very hands-on, and for good reason.
80% of our students come from families that qualify for free and reduced lunches, so resources at home are often limited. We try to take them on trips to help give them experiences they can draw from, but we also try to supplement as much as we can within our classrooms as well.
In third grade, we are given the task of teaching our students how rocks are classified, and why fossils are important. This is very difficult to do when we don't have these items for students to actually touch, feel and experience for themselves. I am planning on using these materials (and sharing them with the rest of my team) to design activities that allow students to "be" the scientists - observing, recording and experimenting to learn about these concepts rather than just reading about it in a book.
The experiences that we give students at the elementary level often start them on a path to who they will be as adults.
If we can spark an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at this age, then the road to these professions will be much easier for our students. How could a child not find some spark of curiosity when they hold in their hands a relic from before humans even existed?
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