Teachers Explore Life Science Concepts via Hands-On-Minds-On Inquiry-Based ExplorationsBy Diana Wehrell-Grabowski on May 10, 2010 in Teacher Training Workshops
I always enjoy conducting life science concepts-based teacher training workshops during the spring. Most states experienced harsh winters this year, thus many of plant and animal life cycles usually observed in the spring were a bit delayed. If you were a teacher ordering butterfly and ladybug larvae you may have been told orders were delayed, etc.. due to the harsh winter. Luckily, my yard is my laboratory. I collect many of my plant and animal specimens used during my teacher training workshops from my own backyard. This year was extra special, I was able to obtain all the life cycle stages of two species of ladybugs. Additionally, I collect pill bugs, earthworms, seeds and spores from numerous plant species right in my own backyard oasis. The following photos are from a full-day teacher training workshop I conducted for elementary teachers to teach life science concepts. Teachers conducted a wide-array of hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based investigations to explore the following life science concepts: basic classification practices within the plant and animal kingdom, using the school yard as a classroom to teach life science concepts, interdependence, plant and animal life cycles, and habitat requirements of plant and animals. The teachers recorded their notes and attached sample specimens inside their interactive teacher notebooks. The teachers really enjoyed their learning experience, and were eager to return to their classroom to implement the hands-on-minds-on investigations with their own students. Additionally, at this particular school the principal requires that each teacher have a science center within their classroom with rotating science concepts throughout the year. Many of the models and materials given to the teachers would become part of their science centers upon returning to their classrooms due to the fact that the workshop content and investigations were directly related to their curriculum mapping schedule. Again, professional staff development, teacher training experiences are all about making learning experiences relevant, meaningful, and replicable within the classroom.