Teaching kindergarteners how to be scientists is one of my favorite things to do! It is so exciting when they start calling themselves "scientists" in the classroom. Talk about a happy teacher!
It usually goes something like this:
Me: "What do you think you are good at?"
Student: "I'm a good scientist."
Me: "Oh, yes you are, Student! Oh, yes you are!"
I have several "non-negotiables" in my classroom. I explain to the teachers during the presentations that I lead, that each of them serves a purpose. (I'm not crazy!) One life skill that I teach my young scientists is to draw and color accurately. YES! No purple-faced kids in my classroom. Sorry, friends.
Whether we are doing color, cut, and paste vowel activities or scientific drawings, my students must color accurately. I even use that word too! They learn what it means as I use the word in context during modeling so often. The rationale for this is that during science time I want them to observe various things and draw and color accurately, so why not practice in all we do?
Coloring accurately helps us when we draw diagrams in our science notebooks. I first introduce students to diagrams in a text features unit in the genre of informational text. We look at diagrams in our reading series' big books. There are so many examples to show the students. We usually make a diagram of a student, which helps them make connections to this idea. Last year, we made a diagram of a penguin in a mini-unit on penguins that I connected to our larger informational text unit.
When drawing diagrams, students must write out the full date: August 7, 2014 (This is something we start at the beginning of the year.) When I taught second and fifth grades, I would also make them write the time and location of the observation. Students are responsible for drawing their best representation of the object or experiment. Then, they label their illustration. I hold them accountable for making their labels horizontal. (In college, my professors would take off points for crooked labels! Really! That is my rationale behind that! Teach them correctly from the start and they can do anything but succeed!) Finally, the students color their illustration accurately. When the students are finished with their diagram, they usually write a sentence in their notebook using a sentence stem that I write out on a sentence strip. By April, the students' work looks like this:
|Scientific Drawing of a Plant this Student Grew in the Classroom|
I look forward to doing more drawing with my students this year and look forward to showing you more examples and the various ability levels.
Here is a sample of a college rubric for scientific drawing, do you think your students can meet some of these requirements? I now my students from last year could...ah, a new bunch of kiddos await...less than three weeks away.