SNN: Third grade Science Shift

May 6, 2019

School News Network

Teachers in Sparta, Northview, Kentwood and Wyoming are participating in a pilot science program that ties Next Generation Science Standard-aligned lessons with lessons in math and literacy.

For many third graders, the year began grappling with big questions like “Why do I see so many squirrels, but can’t find any Stegosauruses?”

Students looked for both, then tried to figure out why the squirrel survived and the dino didn’t. Adaptations of ankle bones, tails and diets seemed to make all the difference.

The Multiple Literacies - Project Based Learning Pilot is a five-year, 5-point-5- million-dollar effort funded by Lucas Education Research. It’s a division of the George Lucas Educational Foundation.

Kent ISD science consultant Wendi Vogel says the pilot aims to see if reading and writing scores go up as a result of teaching science using the units. The big shift is from learning about a topic to trying to figure something out, like solving a problem.

Kent City third-graders will get the units next year as part of a grant that CREATE for STEM at MSU received to do the study. Students involved this year will continue next year in an expanded version of the pilot.

Morgan Jarema for School News Network.