As a Middle Level Education major I have to be prepared to teach upper elementary math, social studies, and science even though my concentration is English.
This is why I have to take some science classes, even though I ultimately want to teach English. This semester, I took two of the science classes Middle Level English Education majors take: Issues in Science and Technology and Concepts of Natural Science.
At the beginning of the semester, I was not very confident in my knowledge of science. I took a practice science teacher certification test and was incredibly intimidated – how on Earth was I going to teach it?
After my first meeting about my field experience, I learned that I’d have to create a science unit plan. In Concepts of Natural Science, you don’t just learn the science concepts; you learn how to teach them. Luckily, I learned some tricks to teaching scientific concepts such as having the students act out the food chain while passing small items such as ping-pong balls or mints to demonstrate the energy passed along as one organism eats another. Since my unit was on the food chain, I ended up “borrowing” that idea.
Learning methods of teaching science taught me how to create my own. In Issues in Science and Technology, I learned about climate change and the greenhouse effect, and I decided that I was going to plan a lesson on those topics because climate change can impact the food chain.
I knew that with the greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases prevent the sun’s energy from leaving Earth’s atmosphere. How was I going to illustrate this for children who could easily forget this? Since my background was in theater, I decided that I could have the students act it out.
I created an activity where students would be divided into two groups, the sun’s energy and the greenhouse gases. The sun’s energy would leave the classroom and enter while the greenhouse gases would pretend to come from cars, factories and other machines that pollute the environment. Then they would guard the door (representing the atmosphere) and not let the sun’s energy escape. Voila! You have the greenhouse effect.
I felt tremendously proud because I created my own activity that illustrates science – and I am an English teacher. Unfortunately, I was unable to teach this lesson during my field work, but I feel incredibly proud of planning this lesson. This means I can teach science now, right?