Science can be a difficult subject to teach remotely. Students learn best from hands-on inquiry experiences with investigations, explorations, and experiments. Even though distance learning poses challenges for teaching science effectively, I have some suggestions to help you navigate these challenges and successfully teach science while distance learning.
Introducing Science Concepts Virtually
When you are teaching science, begin with activating schema. If you are distance learning, you can activate schema during your virtual meetings by using graphic organizers to lead discussions about what students already know about a topic.
Next, it is important to build background knowledge. When you are working virtually with students, short videos are a great way to build background knowledge!
Building on Key Concepts
To build key concepts, start off by explicitly teaching key vocabulary. Create task cards and build a virtual word wall. It’s also helpful to integrate music and songs to help students remember key vocabulary words and concepts.
You can review key skills and concepts using mini books. I love mini books because they help reinforce vocabulary and concepts. Here is an example of my mini books. These are great because they can be completed in printable or digital formats!
Inquiry, Explorations, and Distance Learning
When teching science, it’s important to use science experiments that reinforce accurate scientific processes. If students are performing these experiments at home, be sure they use readily available materials. Give very clear instructions for families. While it is much more beneficial for students to conduct experiemtns and explorations on their own, you should offer a virtual option to watch the experiments via video. Do have students document their observations and findings. It is very important that students reflect on their findings and what they have learned.
Offer other activities that solidify concepts students should have learned through their experiments. These activities can be sorts or reflective writing activities.
I recommend doing short quizzes as science assessments for students. Quizzes can be short, 1-2 pages that review key vocabulary and concepts. This holds students accountable for their learning.
Science Resources for Classroom & Distance Learning
As with most subject areas, I recommend having a solid curriculum that you can use in the classroom and for distance learning. All of my second grade science units come in printable and digital formats, so they can be used seamlessly with both in person and remote distance learning.
These two units are perfect for starting off your science units:
If you are looking for some virtual science experiments students can do with their families with materials they have at home, check out my At-Home Science Experiments in Google Slides.