During my student teaching, I am learning a lot of things. (some of which I don’t even yet realize I am learning!) This is one lesson that my cooperating teacher shared with me that I just had to pass on! It’s a great idea! Here’s her story…
“During my education classes, we had to make a presentation on a topic which we felt would be most valuable to our fellow teaching students. We had classes every Tuesday and Thursday evening on top of student teaching full-time. It was also a “no excuse” presentation. We were assigned a date and expected to give it no matter what came up during our schedules. No one, however, in my program knew that my father had passed away the previous Saturday. I had traveled out of town to be with him when he passed, had the viewing on Monday, and the funeral on Tuesday. I left that afternoon, drove 150 miles to Mishawaka, and walked in just in time to give my presentation. In a nutshell, I told my fellow teachers that there will be times in our teaching careers when we will have to leave on little notice. You will be gone for days for an emergency and have to leave your students in the hands of others. For those days, always have a week of “backup” lessons ready to go. Have it prepared so that all you have to do is pull it out and put it on your desk for emergencies. A week of lesson plans means you are always prepared and can leave knowing it’s all okay in your classroom. I got an A on the presentation and the professor told me to leave early and get some rest. It’s one of the best pieces of advice I can give any teacher and something I always have on a shelf near my desk!”
This is certainly a great idea! Even if the emergency doesn’t cause you to be absent, but you just didn’t have time to make the lesson plans because something is going on at home. However, an effective teacher needs to be careful not to waste time with these lessons. A week of movies that sort of relate to the subject is not what I have in mind. The lessons should be meaningful and able to be used at any point in the year.
The following are a few ideas that could be used in a week of emergency science lesson plans. The inspiration for these ideas came from the article Twenty-Five Great Ideas for Teaching Current Events by Gary Hopkins, Education World® Editor in Chief.
Activity 1: Science Scavenger Hunt
Purpose: to discover how much science and what kind of science is used in everyday life
The concept is simple. Split the students into a number of groups depending on the number of students in the class and the number of news sources available. Give the students a certain amount of time to find science words in the news source. The group that finds the greatest number of words wins!
This is a short activity, but its effect could be great. To be successful in this activity, students are required to consider what science is and what it looks like in real life. If they
Activity 2: Present an Event
Purpose: To gain experience using information media and practice public speaking skills through sharing a current science event that appeals to the interests of the students
For this activity, students will research an event that occurred within the last year. The event should be related to the course topics or another science. The students will present their findings and their connections to the course using an information medium of their choice. The students will be expected to provide a scientific description of the event, a connection to the course content, and the presentation medium used should imitate professional examples of that medium by including all of the main features. The final project should be well polished and free of errors.
Activity 3: Paper from the Past
Purpose: to practice finding reliable sources of information online and to gain an understanding of the origins of scientific thought.
For this activity, students will work in groups to research a scientist or a scientific event of the past that led to the discovery of the information being covered in the course. (Ex: If the class is discussing DNA, students could research Watson and Crick.) Each group will create a newspaper article to contribute to the class newspaper about the time period of interest. Students will gain experience with research, formatting, citing sources, and gain some perspective for the history of science.