Students are asked to sit on the meeting place rug to hear instructions on the first lesson of a new science unit on magnets.
I say to students, "Today we are going to explore some fun things in centers. At each table, there are some things that you are going to get to play with. Your job today is just to explore with what is at the center for a few minutes and then when the timer rings, we will switch to a new center."
I have preselected the groups for each center. I do this because it gives the students an opportunity to work with different people and because it saves time.
I send the groups to their tables and remind students that when the timer rings, we clean up our center and leave it just as we have found it and we rotate clockwise in the direction of the arrows hanging on the walls.
I have placed black construction paper arrows all around the room showing students which way to rotate.
I tell students its time to start the rotation through the 4 centers. I tell them they have 12 minutes at each center to play and explore.
#1 Magnets and Water - magnet wands and bottles of water with various magnetic items in them.
#2 Doodle Boards - this center will include several different types of magnetic doodle boards
#3 Magnetic Rings - students can observe that the rings that go on the rod either attract each other or do not force each other apart
#4 Sensory box - in the sensory table, it will be filled with dry white rice and a number of small objects. Some are magnetic and some are not. There will also be different magnets that students can use to explore.
Center activities allow students to explore a variety of activities during one lesson.
As students finish up their last rotation, I ask them to come to the meeting place rug. While I have them there, I ask another adult in the classroom to clean up the tables.
While the tables are being cleared, I have students turn knee to knee with their shoulder partner (the person they are sitting next to) and share what they observed.
I give students a minute or two to share. When I see that the tables are clear, I ask students to quietly get up and go to their own seats. I pass our science journals.
I say to students, "In your journal, I would like you to turn to the next blank page and I would like you to draw a picture of something that you observed and write a sentence about it."
I give students an example. "If I were a kindergartener and it was my job to draw and write, this is what I would do..."
This helps students to fully understand my expectations for their work. This also allows students to experience what it is like being a scientist by writing observations from their investigations in a science journal.