For the opening of this lesson, you will need your classroom rules. You will also need a copy of your science rules. I have included my science rules that can be printed for this lesson. I use a colored printer and laminate for durability. I use the rules to begin a discussion about science safety. I want the students to make important connections between the overall classroom rules and rules that we follow for science. This background knowledge will help the students to better internalize the science rules that will be covered in this lesson.
I gather the students around my big chair and begin the lesson with a discussion. I post the chart with our classroom rules so the students can see them. I say to the students, Do you remember what these are? That's right. They are our classroom rules. Can anyone tell me why we have rules (solicit responses from the students)? That's right. We have rules so we can all stay safe and have fun learning together. Our classroom rules are important all day long. But, there are some extra rules that we need to follow when we are learning about science. These are the rules that we will be following when we are in science class.
I display a copy of the science rules for the students and I read each one aloud as I point to them.
1. We listen carefully to directions.
2. We do not touch without permission.
3. We do not eat, drink or smell anything without permission.
4. We use the correct science tools.
5. We clean up our area when we are done.
These rules are very important. Let's move over to the Smartboard and find out why it is so important to follow these science rules.
For this portion of the lesson, I use my SmartBoard. If you have a SmartBoard, the file Science Safety can easily be downloaded and opened. If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express. Click here to download. There is also a PDF of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson. Click here to access the PDF: Science Safety Slides.
I gather my students in front of the Smartboard. I have cards with each student's name printed on. These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the Smartboard. This helps my spread response opportunities across my entire classroom and eliminates any unintentional bias.
I open the first slide (SmartBoard Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms. There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques (Click here to learn more about SIOP). I read these objectives aloud for my students.
I can talk about our science rules and why they are important.
I can tell a friend why it is important to follow a certain science rule.
Slide 2: Science can be a lot of fun! Let's learn more about our rules!
Slide 3: We listen carefully to directions. It is important that we hear what we need to do so we don't make a mistake that could be dangerous, like mixing the wrong things. Can you circle the picture of the student that is listening? I call up a student to circle the correct picture. We discuss why it is the correct picture. We also discuss how an experiment might not turn out properly if we do not listen to and follow directions.
Slide 4: We do not touch without permission. We might work with things that could hurt us if we touch with our fingers instead of using science tools. Some things we work with might be fragile and touching them might hurt or damage them. Circle the picture of the student who is following our science rule. I give some specific examples from experiments that we will be doing and the impact of touching something that shouldn't be touched might have.
Slide 5: We do not eat, drink or smell anything without permission. Some of the things we work with might look like food, but may not really be food. Some things that are food might be unsafe because they are not clean or they might be old. You might get sick from tasting these things. Smelling things without permission might make us sick or hurt our nose or lungs. In this science class they are working with cookies. Circle the student who is following the science rules. Again, we talk about some of the things we may be using during our experiments like dish detergent that we would not want to eat.
Slide 6: When we have permission to smell something, there is a special way we smell. It is called, "Our Science Sniff". We don't take a big smell, we do something called "wafting". Let's watch a video to learn what it is. The link takes us to a very short video that shows the proper way to smell. After the video, I have the entire class practice "wafting" by pretending to sniff something.
Slide 7: We use correct science tools. It is important that we use the correct tools to do our science jobs. If we don't, we might ruin the tools or get hurt. Circle the picture that shows tools we may use in science class. After a student circles the correct picture. We discuss what tools might get ruined or what tool could be very dangerous in the picture.
Slide 8: We clean up our area when we are done. It is important that we clean up our area. This helps to keep us safe by preventing spills. Equipment won't get broken if it is put away and science is more fun if everyone helps!! Circle the table that shows the students who followed the science rules. We talk about how it is not fun to clean up others' messes or how accidents can happen because of a spill.
Slide 9: It is now Turn and Talk Time. Turn and Talk gives my students a chance to practice and expand their academic language. The students have assigned Turn and Talk partners. I ask them to hold hands with their partners and raise them high in the air. This allows me to check that everyone has a partner. I then say to them, What science rule is not being followed? Why is it important to follow this rule? I give them time to talk to their partner and when it is obvious that they have completed their discussion, I call on student to share their response. We discuss how the student is smelling something. We talk about how it is important to use the Science Sniff when smelling.
We then move to our seats for guided practice.
For this portion of the lesson, you will need the Thinking About Science Safety book included as a PDF with this lesson. I print the book on a colored printer, laminate the pages for durability and bind it with a comb binding machine.
I partner up the students for this part of the lesson. I like to partner a student with developing language skills with students who are more established with their language skills. The important modeling of language by peers is an influential factor in language development.
After the students are partnered, I say to them, We have been learning about science safety. Now it's time to show what you know about being safe during science class. I am going to read a story to you. This story is all about science safety. The title of the story is Thinking about Science Safety. This book wants you to really think about what we need to do to stay safe during science and why our science rules are important. So, put on your thinking caps. (model putting on my "thinking cap"). I will ask you some different questions while I am reading this book and I want you and your partner to think about and discuss the answer together. After everyone has had a chance to talk with their partner, I will call on students to share.
I begin reading the book to the students. After each page, I give the students a chance to discuss the questions on the page and then I ask students to share. This time is really about the students thinking critically and developing skills that will help them "think like a scientist".
After we have discussed the entire book, the students return to their seats.
I believe it is important for students to take their learning home to share with their families. To wrap up this lesson, the students will be given the charge of explaining their science rules to their parents. If you want your students to reinforce their learning at home, you can print out a copy of Our Science Rules Home Version included as a PDF with this lesson.
I pass the sheet out to the students as I say to them, Our science rules are very important. They are so important that I want you to share them with your family. You will take this sheet home and have an adult read the rules to you. You will then tell them why each rule is important. Don't worry, if there is no one is able to read the rules to you at home, bring the sheet back and I will read them to you and you can explain them to me.
I then have the students put the sheet in their mailboxes. I check to see who returned the rules and have the students who were not able to do this activity at home do it with me or better yet, another adult in the classroom like a paraprofessional or a volunteer. It is important that the students understand these rules. They are very basic, but they are the foundation for science learning that will happen throughout the elementary years. The rules will be built upon and expanded as the students move on to middle school and high school. The critical thinking and reflection of WHY each rule is important help develop the students as science thinkers.