Yesterday was chock full of science! Thanks to Kevin Johnson, the Hillsboro-Deering School District’s Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Coordinator, I had the privilege of working with his district’s Vertical Science Team during the day. It was a professional development day for their teachers, and I had the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with their educators on how they could assist their elementary colleagues with enhancing science education.
The team was composed of a group of talented and determined individuals – Joseph Donnelly, Brian McGinn, Carolyn Stiles and Sam Brown. Dialogue revolved around adapting science units to correlate with the Next Generation Science Standards, providing elementary teachers with the necessary resources to instruct effectively, and making efforts to ensure adequate time was allotted to meet elementary students’ science needs.
After spending the morning in Hillsboro I then traveled to the school I’ve been teaching at for the last nine years, Kearsarge Regional Elementary School in Bradford. It was the third grade’s annual “24 Hours of Space,” and I wanted to be a part of this incredible, educational tradition. For those elementary educators looking to enhance their science lessons, one piece of advice I can provide is to create a culminating event to celebrate the conclusion of a unit of study. “24 Hours of Space” is a prime example.
What is this event? The third graders at KRES at Bradford learn about outer space, specifically the solar system, for several weeks. The last day of the unit includes the following:
- a morning field trip to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
- an afternoon at the school full of space-related crafts and games
- a time to present projects they created during the unit to their families
- a potluck dinner at the school’s cafeteria
- a program put on by the New Hampshire Astronomical Society (NHAS)
- a time to stargaze in the school’s playground
- a space-related movie in the school’s multi-purpose room
- a sleepover in the school’s multi-purpose room
For many children this is one of the most memorable days of their elementary student years – and it is all made possible by the many volunteer hours put in by families and colleagues, the hard work and invested time of the third grade teachers, and the support of the administration.
Lastly, this occasion would not come close to being as meaningful as it is to students if they had not had the significant opportunities to learn about the subject of outer space before participating in their many space-themed events. Why? It is because this culminating event is a chance for students to take what they have learned and apply it to real-life circumstances.
Well done Mrs. Corbyn and Ms. Purington, Principal Spadaro, family volunteers, volunteers of the NHAS, employees of the planetarium and other behind-the-scenes individuals that made this wonderful day a reality for the third graders!