Explorations and Investigations in Science at the University of Tampa
Corbett Prep Upper Primary Students Participate in Science-themed Field Experiences
March 11, 2013 (Tampa, FL)—After a trimester of classroom Explorations and Investigations, Corbett Preparatory School of IDS first and second grade students were invited by senior-level College of Education science students to visit the University of Tampa campus. The UT students created hands-on, interactive lessons that provided opportunities for the Upper Primary students to further investigate in their current areas of study.
Middle School Associate Division Leader Cindy Strickland, also a professor in the College of Education at the University of Tampa, partnered with fellow UT Professor Gina Almerico to provide opportunities for their college students to develop and deliver the science-themed field experiences based on Common Core Standards, research-based best practices, and National Science Education Standards.
To further demonstrate the central idea that “Changes in force and motion are caused by energy,” for example, the UT teachers-in-training helped the students construct roller coasters with foam insulation and used marbles to observe and analyze energy transformation. The students also made oobleck, a slimy mixture of cornstarch and water that has the properties of both liquid and solid to help reinforce the concepts of matter.
Upper Primary and Intermediate Division teachers at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS believe to tap in to students’ natural curiosity in science, children must be encouraged to explore, make observations, and answer questions by engaging in hands-on, interactive experiments. Just as important, they say, is to group students from different grade levels together to challenge them to reach their full potential and build a sense of community.
Students from first and second grades are grouped together in the same science classroom— a multiage approach that enables them to benefit from each other’s skills. The same cooperative multiage approach applies to third, fourth, and fifth grade science at Corbett Prep.
“We use the KWL model when introducing a lesson— asking the students ‘what do you already know, what do you want to know and later, what have you learned?’ Because the students themselves experiment to discover the answers, they are highly engaged in the process,” said multiage teacher Jen
Explorations and Investigations is based on a two-year cycle in which students rotate through three different topics each year. Using an inquiry/experiment-based discovery-learning model, the program focuses on the application of the scientific method and science processing skills. This year the topics include matter: solid, liquid and gas, geology, and force and motion. Next year, the cycle will cover weather, plants, and life science.
“The trip to UT gives Upper Primary science students interactive experiences designed to engage their interests and stimulate learning, and it also provides hands-on, real-life learning opportunities for the UT students,” said Mrs. Strickland. “We plan to make this field trip an annual tradition at Corbett Prep.”