Science helps provide insight into the unknown and provides an outlet for exploration of living things. Children are innately curious about how thing work, and they are eager to ask questions. Science is the perfect outlook for students to fully engage in their inquisitiveness, but yet, many classrooms are skipping over science lessons or choosing to heavily focus on other subjects, such as reading and writing. Science is often taught as an elective, integrated with other subjects or it is only focused on for a short period of time. Unfortunately, when this subject does receive attention, lessons are heavily text-book based and fail to engage students in hands-on, inquiry-based learning. Many teachers struggle to create their own engaging science experiments, and to help find a solution to this problem, a hands-on, engaging science module for fifth-graders was created. This seven-lesson science unit focuses on life-science, and it covers the topics of photosynthesis and the role of producers, consumers and decomposers. It also connects to the Massachusetts Science Technology Engineering Curriculum Framework and Science Engineering Practices found in the Next Generation Science Standards. This module was designed so that it could act as an easily accessible science unit that teachers can look at and replicate in the classroom because the module is inexpensive and can be easily implemented into the classroom. This module will hopefully help make engaging, hands-on experiments and lessons become more accessible to teachers and students. Another purpose of this project was to test the effectiveness of an engaging life science module to examine if hands-on and inquiry based-learning can increase students’ knowledge and appreciation for science. The seven-lesson science unit was implemented into a fifth-grade classroom in Brockton, Massachusetts, and a pre- and post-assessment was administered and analyzed to examine the effectiveness of hands-on learning. The results show that hands-on learning may help students learn about science topics covered and taught in class, and it may help students maintain positive attitudes about gardening, plants and their importance in the environment and society.
Elementary and Early Childhood Education
Dr. Nicole Glen, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Heather Marella, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Jennifer Mendell, Committee Member
Dr. Andrea Cayson, Committee Member
Copyright and Permissions
Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.
Gately, Kelly. (2019). Bringing Science to Life in the Fifth-Grade Classroom Through Hands-On Learning. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 371. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/371
Copyright © 2019 Kelly Gately