The old spiritual song “Dem Bones” might not seem like a science lesson. Yet its rhythm and repetition are perfect for helping students pronounce and remember the common and scientific names of bones, says teacher and Essential Resources author, Brenda Greene.
Brenda’s hands-on, curriculum-aligned activities certainly keep students’ curiosity alive, something she says is critical to learning.
“Exposing students to different ways of expressing and experiencing science is vital to their learning and engagement.”
“If you want to improve your sports game, explore space, or find gold and precious stones then, great, explore physics, biology and chemistry from there,” she says.
In her latest Emergency Science books, Brenda details absorbing experiments and activities. They include a crossword on the water cycle related to the topics of fire, flood and drought, and a segment on volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis that requires a hard-boiled egg, ruler, pencil and eraser. The egg is used to model the rocks that make up layers of the earth’s crust, to practice drawing and labelling a diagram, and to compare scientific models.
Yet behind the lively fun and games are serious processes—comparing, sorting, describing and measuring changes; exploring new ways of doing things; understanding concepts like models, reports and methods; and learning scientific language.
“The marvellous thing about science is that language, process skills and concepts of scientific thinking are at the heart of every topic.”
Brenda Greene gained an MSc from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand and worked as a scientist, publishing papers on the genetics and conservation of New Zealand birds. She gained a Diploma in Teaching and Learning from Canterbury University, and taught science at the Orana Wildlife Park and in Christchurch secondary schools. She enjoys hands-on science, and is always inventing new experiments for her students to do.