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There were wide differences in their skills and in the value of their ideas about how to achieve the results they wanted.
Science. On the board in the fifth-grade homeroom were three leading health or science questions, inspired by the Salk vaccine shots then being promoted on television.
What is put into your body through shots, that helps you to keep from taking disease?
How does your body protect itself from diseases?
Why do some people catch diseases, especially colds, and others don't, even when they go to the same places?
Later, in the science workshop, the visitor heard the teacher ask, "Did you find anything about Jonas Salk?" Three of the children had talked to adults outside school and two had checked in a book. The encyclopedia, said one boy, had pictures about vac
Teaching-Learning Situation No. 4*
Science and social living.—A well-worked-out schedule of activities for the day was on the board, but a set of tiny motors which the teacher had ordered had arrived unexpectedly. The children were eager to assemble them.
On a board, a sketch, Household Motors, showed large pieces of electrical equipment: a boat motor, a car motor, a discarded washer, kitchen utilities, a clock, an automatic washer, a refrigerator, a garbage disposal, and a dishwasher. Also on the board was a list of words which the children presumably had requested for use in writing their daily logs of individual accomplishments:
Leipen: Elements of Mechanics
Morgan: The Book of Engines, Motors, and Turbines
Morrow Things Around the House
Rick: Automobiles From Start to Finish
Sharp: Simple Machines and How They Work
Some of the work of the day was reviewed: spelling, arithmetic, reading. The children then began to work on the motors. Many
could proceed on their own, but all needed help to adjust the parts and establish a current. The day was spent in decorating for Halloween, working on motors, physical education, library reading, spelling, and arithmetic. One group went to the school library and, with the help of the librarian, selected 50 books to be used for an anticipated study of biography and history.
Teaching-Learning Situation No. 5*
Science. The theme was Water Life, introduced recently, following study of the theme Living Together in Our School. The teacher called attention to a leech which Bob had brought in.
T-I brought him the “L” volume of the encyclopedia. Why did I choose this volume?
C-So he can look up leeches. The word starts with "I".
C-The water has chlorine in it. He should have used creek water.
T-What did you feed it?
C-A commercial food. I read the ingredients. They were printed on
T-Does your mother usually read the labels on prepared foods?
Some company might make the same thing and sell it for
T-Yes; if there were a big can and a little one-two little ones might be
the better buy.
C-The big one would have more tin or glass to be weighed.
C-No; they put on what the ingredients weigh.
T-Yes; that is the net weight. If they weigh the can and the contents, too, that is gross weight.
The teacher then turned to the major interest, the study of water life. She explained, "If you have pinpointed an interest, some of these books will help you. Here is one on tadpoles for Nellie." She then called attention to the following books:
Animal in Small Ponds
Frogs and Fish
Let's Go Outdoors
Fortunate the children in a school with rich library resources.
Springtime in Brooks
As the teacher exhibited the books, the children's comments showed their enthusiasm and their eagerness to "find out." About Fungus Plants, a child said, "We saw these plants on our trip"; about Insects, another said. "This book will have mosquitoes in it."
Turtles (2 books)
The Wonder of Living Things.
These books and many others were lined up on the chalk tray and tables for the children to use.
"These will give you good material for notes," said the teacher. "About notetaking, let's talk a little. Take notes only, not whole paragraphs. Like this: What do we need to keep our animals alive?" As various children volunteered, she put the contributions into the following simple outline:
1. What do I need to provide?
A natural habitat.
2. How can I help keep them alive? Feed them.
T-Your mother uses notes when she makes her grocery list. She puts down bread, meat, butter; not “I need bread, etc." Sometimes we use phrases for outlining, too.. What do we investigate in a book to see if it has what we want?
C-The table of contents.
T-Yes; it gives chapter headings.
T-Yes; for smaller details.
The children got books and returned to their seats. A boy was heard to say, "Mine has a wonderful index!"
Teaching-Learning Situation No. 6*
Sharing. A girl had brought a big box of sand. The sand was shaped to form a hill. She explained that she was going to show erosion, and asked that someone bring a bottle of water. She poured the water on the hill, saying, "Watch the erosion. The water is like rain. It eats away the sand."
T-Has it changed the contour?
C-Yes! (Explained in great detail what had happened.)
T-Like Niagara Falls?
C-And Great Falls.
C-And the Grand Canyon.
C-Will Niagara Falls disappear?
(This was discussed, emphasizing the fact that changes in nature usually happen very slowly.)
A boy and a girl attempted to demonstrate surface tension. They had a plastic pan of water upon which they floated pepper. Amidst the sneezing, a boy asked, "Why doesn't it sink?"
C-Because it's too light to disturb the surface tension. Now I'll put in some soap flakes. Watch what happens. (The pepper spread; some of it sank. The soap sank.) The surface has been disturbed. Some insects can walk on the water because they don't rearrange the molecules.
A boy said he had an oxidation experiment. He was not permitted to show it because one had already been shown.
T-How can we avoid duplication?
C-But this one might turn out to be different. (This caused lively discussion.)
T-Well, let's hear both sides.
C-We should not: it spoils the fun and wastes our time.
C-We should: it might turn out different, especially if different ingredients were used.
T-But it should have one result.
C-Well, you might think you have the same ingredients and not have. T-Well, let's go ahead.
(The tension broke into mirth when the boy said he wasn't ready anyway.) T-Let's evaluate the experiments.
C-There were too many helpers.
C-I have a suggestion to solve that. Have the person pick a helper. C-They could have told more if they had written out the experiments. (The children disagreed with the speaker.)
C-In the erosion one, they should have had a glass container so everyone could see.
T-Can you say it so it applies to all of us instead of just to one? C-The containers should be prettier and we should be able to see through them.
Teaching-Learning Situation No. 7*
Science. The children were working with oaktag, making diagrams to show the relative distances of the planets from the sun. On the board was a table which the children had worked out, giving millions of miles, and showing an example key: 1/4"-100 million miles; 1" 400 million miles.
Each child was now using his own key. The teacher explained that this was an outgrowth of bar-graph study in arithmetic.
As the children finished, they went to other activities. Three played chess, and several consulted library books.
On the bulletin boards hung booklets entitled Animals of Today, Chemistry in Everyday Life, Clothing, How the Locomotive Began, Jamestown, Naval Action in World War II, New York City, and New York State.
Teaching-Learning Situation No. 8*
Language arts and science.-The children were finishing up an activity period and some boys were putting these questions on a bulletin board:
Balloons and Parachutes
We Want to Know:
How was the first balloon made?
What makes a balloon rise? Come down?
What is a parachute? What is it used for?
Why does a parachute used by a flier have to have such a large canopy?