I implemented a science-‐learning center into my second grade classroom.
The focus of the center was plants and seeds. This subject coincided with the science lessons being taught in the classroom. I thought it was important for the center to be relevant to the material they were studying, so the knowledge and information gained in the center would be meaningful and useful. The learning center included scopes on a rope, which was relevant because the students attended a workshop on how to use scopes on a rope a few days before the center was implemented. The information and technology used in the center was useful and relevant to their current lessons.
I offered many activities in the center, all of which could be done with a
partner. I provided a book of “I can activities” that informed the students of all the activities available in the center. The students could use the computers to view select websites explaining, seed dispersal, the parts of a plant and how a plant grows. I pulled all the websites up before opening the center to ensure the students were using their time on the computers effectively. I provided a book on seeds and plants as a resource to review the parts of a seed, parts of a plant and the life cycle of a plant. I created matching boards for the parts of a plant and the life cycle of a plant. Each board had a set of cards that velcroed to the board to identify the parts of the plant or put the stages of a plant’s life cycle in order from beginning to end. The center included various seeds and plants to be viewed through the scope on a rope,
the plants were on paper plates so, they could be taken apart and the stems, roots, flowers and leaves could be viewed. The various seeds provided were of different, shapes, weights and textures so the children could perform tests on the seeds to see how the seeds travel, by water, wind or hitching a ride on animals or clothing. To test the seeds I put seed travel kits in the center, which contain a fan, a piece of felt and a cup of water. I put a silk plant in the center to be viewed through the scope on a rope and compared the real plant and silk plant. I also provided recording sheets for each of the activities so the children could record what they found while participating in the activities. The plant-‐learning center was set up on a table with a television and a scope on a rope. Computers are close to the station so the students can access the websites and videos easily. The area surrounding the center has ample floor space so that multiple children can occupy the area at once.
The activities were differentiated based on the different types of learners and
different ability levels. There were activities that included writing, reading, technology, hands on opportunities and observation. These activities provided many different ways to participate in the center, based on the different types of learners, auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners. Visual learners would enjoy the book and websites provided, as well as the pictures on the matching boards and the various materials that can be viewed on the scope. Auditory learners would benefit from listening to the video or website, since both had audio. Auditory learners could listen to another child read the book and benefit from listening to the discussion with their partner in the center. Kinesthetic learners will enjoy all activities in this center because every activity involves some aspect of hands on experience.
The activities in the center also range from difficult to easy. The activities can
all be done in pairs, so this will help children work on teamwork and helping each other understand. The matching boards are the only activities in the center that have right and wrong answers, but resources are provided to aid in finding the correct answer, such as the websites, video and the book all provide the information needed to correctly answer the questions. The students can also enlist the help of their partner to work on the activity. The scope on a rope is a difficult activity, just because it is fairly new technology to work with, but the students had a workshop to familiarize themselves with the scopes. The observation and recording worksheets are open ended, so there is no right or wrong answer. The children have already performed the seed travel activity during class, so they should be familiar with it, however different seeds were provided to make the activity different and new. All the activities deal with different aspects of a plant, from the parts, life cycle and the seed and the way the seed travels to create new plants. The activities are differentiated by difficulty, but the students are provided with the resources and have a partner to complete each task.
The students will rotate through the center daily. The class goes to centers
for 30 minutes a day and the children are rotated into different centers, by rotating their pictures on the classroom center chart. If we had more time in centers I would set up a timer to go off after half an hour and the children would know their two centers to rotate to during that hour, by use of the classroom center chart. The centers materials will be easy to manage, I would rotate the materials once all of the children had a chance to go into the center. The plants could be replaced with
different plants and seeds and different activities should be made up to keep the children engaged and interested in the station. Another activity the children could do in the center as a replacement would be planting and observing their own seeds and finding unique ways to document their observations. I think the students should learn to manage the station and keep it clean and in order. To ensure that the students are capable of doing this, the station should be introduced to the students and shown each activity and material has a place it should be returned to once they have finished with the center. The center is small and can be managed by the students, if they are taught how to do so. The materials can be managed easily by rotating plants, seeds and activities weekly to keep the students engaged and interested in the center, as long as plants are relevant in the classroom.