Sunday, August 9, 2009

No Time for Science? We'll Help You Find It

In my discussions with elementary teachers in California throughout the past few years, one of the most frequent comments I hear when we're discussing science is, "I don't have time to teach Science."

As someone who is passionate about science, and has a graduate degree and a teaching credential in the field, I'm always shocked and saddened by this statement. However, I understand the difficulty elementary teachers have in teaching all of the California Content Standards in English/Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science, Physical Education, Visual/Performing Arts . . . etc.

Since the Spring of 2004, California has required all 5th grade students to take the California Standards Test in Science. At other grade levels, however, the pressure of testing doesn't exist, and due to time and budget constraints, the subject of Science is often squeezed out of the daily curriculum.

Here are some ideas to teach Science while still meeting all the other national and statewide requirements:
  • Integrate Science into English/Language Arts
    • read science nonfiction books
    • have students write persuasive, informational, etc. essays/paragraphs/sentences about science topics
    • provide students with science-related reading books in your classroom library
    • encourage written and oral reports on science books
    • teach students research skills using science topics
  • Integrate Science into Mathematics
    • have students learn measurements (English and metric) by measuring the plants around the school property
    • have students learn measurements by measuring their height, circumference, arm bones, muscle length, etc.
    • engage students in surveys about scientific topics (e.g., How are age and height related? How are gender and height related? What color are your eyes and what color are your biological parents' eyes?)
    • check out the National Science Teachers Association' web site at: for great resources
  • Integrate Science into Physical Education
    • play games with students that integrate scientific concepts (see resources below)
  • Integrate Science into Art
    • draw animals
    • draw human systems
    • draw plants

Other Resources:
- Contact your local CREEC Coordinator ( for ideas on available curricula and local field trips/science programs
- Integrating Science With Mathematics & Literacy by Elizabeth Hammerman and Diann Musial. Corwin Press, Inc. 2008. ISBN: 9781412955645
- Project WET (
- Project WILD (
- Project Learning Tree (
- Population Connection Education (
- Green Teacher (

Please email me with techniques you use in your classroom to integrate Science regularly. I'll post new ideas in future blogs.