About Science Units
The goal of a science unit is to help the student better understand the science concept being taught. By offering a variety of different learning methods a unit allows students to be more successful in understanding the concept. Whether the student likes to learn new words, practice their writing skills, or get up and participate in experiments there are many different ways the student can learn.
The other goal of the unit is to allow students to explore those things that most interest them. While I set the different minimums, students are free to choose some of the different activities that they must do, therefore and empowering them to do their best work. The following descriptions will help to clarify each of the components of the Science Unit.
What is the unit about and how long do you have to do it. Keep in mind that the longer there is to complete a unit the more tests there will be during it. For a 4 week unit covering typically two chapters in the textbook thee will be two tests, one over each of the chapters. This could vary so make sure that you keep an eye on the calendar and plan ahead.
The Objective section is one of the most important for each student. This is because the objectives are the learning goals for the time allowed during the unit. Student should carefully read each of the goals, deciding whether or not they have met the learning criteria for each learning Objective. If a student feels they have not fully learned an objective, or feels that they do not understand the idea of the Objective, they should make a time to see the teacher. If a student has understood the Objective, then they can move on to the following objectives. At the end of the unit it is these objectives that are used to create the study guide and test. It is also a good idea to go over the Objectives before the lesson and reading to better understand what will be presented an expected in class. Objectives are taken from the book and the NYS science standards so a more complete listing of objectives can be found in these locations.
The Readings section is very straightforward. Students will be given a pre-reading assignment of outlining or creating a concept web, and then they are expected to do the textbook reading on their own time. The textbook reading should also be done in conjunction with the vocabulary, homework, or the conclusion section of any laboratory that deals with that Reading. It is very important for the students to read each section in order to better understand the topics of the laboratories and to do the homework and vocabulary. If a student does not do the Reading, or does not read completely, they will find it difficult to fully understand the concepts being taught in the unit. If a student finds a particular section difficult to read there are several different options. One option is prearrange coming to the study hall period everyday,or even into school before 8:55 and going over it with the teacher. Another option would be to read with a partner or small group giving each person a smaller section to read it and discuss afterwards. There is also a possibility of an older brother's, sister, parent or another partner may be able to help them. While reading is not the only way to understand the science concepts, it does allow students to see the vocabulary in context, and see what has been said in class during a lesson, laboratory or other activity.
Science vocabulary contains many new and unusual words, it is therefore important to understand what these words and word parts mean. As with any language learning, understanding what the word means is vital to understanding what is being taught, if you cannot speak the words of a language then you may not understand that language. Science borrows heavily from to ancient languages, Latin and Greek. To help students better understand the new Vocabulary being presented, a new section in the Going Beyond allows students to explore root words, prefixes and suffixes. Students will also be better able to understand what is being said or written, if their understanding of both the English language and Spanish language is complete. This is because English and Spanish are derived from the same language that is no longer being used and therefore not changing. Science takes advantage of this dead language by using its words which will remain the same and not change in the future. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of learning the new Science Vocabulary, as well as many of the prefixes and suffixes which are found in so many Science words. The clues that are given in these word document will go along way to help the student understand more clearly what is being explained .
Homework is an important part every class. There are several reasons for this, the least of which is that a student who consistently completes their homework is a student prepared for class. A student who consistently completes their homework understands what has been done, and what will be done in science class. A student who consistently completes their homework is better prepared for tests, and lab write ups, and understands the vocabulary being presented. While individual homework assignments are only a small part of the final grade, it is much more important than that. In general there will be more homework given than needs to be completed, which ones that are to be completed depends on the student and what that student wishes to do it. If the student chooses to take an excuse on a homework, then they must inform me before the homework is corrected. Otherwise, homework will be corrected in class and given back to this student at a later time. Even if the Homework has not been completed, the student should fill in the answers while it is being corrected so that when they study for exams they have completed homework. At the end of a units all the completed homework can be used to study for the test or quiz.
In this section you are expected to choose one of the "Going Beyond" activities and complete it in the time given for the project. Different activities to choose from during this project are: "Word Origins", "Explain it to Jose", "Science in the News" and many more. The Going Beyond section has been added so that students may explore the Science concept that is being presented in any way that they choose. Whether they are interested in current news, the history of science, arts, language or mathematics, there's something here for every student learning style. Students are to select one of the different topics for each chapter being studied to learn more about the topic in a different way. If a student does not enjoy writing as much as drawing then they may choose the drawing or acting section. For a further description of what each Going Beyond selection includes, make sure you check out the other web page which describes how much each section is worth and what is expected to be included. The most important thing with this section is to have fun and choose what you want to do since you are given that option.