Tales from Lower School
Observation & Classification--In Silence!
First Graders Become Scientists
by Barbara Ackerman, LS science teacher, 74th Street.
In 1st grade science, we achieve the impossible--a lesson taught in total silence! No words; only gestures and actions.
With an apparently random bunch of objects placed on a table (colorful Legos, buttons, pom-poms, beads and feathers), we silently and thoughtfully begin to sort the items into groups. At first the students are a bit puzzled, but soon, after some careful observation, a pattern emerges.
Silently begin sorting objects by color. The exercise is then repeated, this time sorting by texture. As the children begin to realize the parameters of the groupings, they are invited to help in sorting. Before long, all of the students are working as a team to gleefully sort all of the objects on the table, still (mostly!) in silence.
The science lesson of the day: Classification.
To end the lesson, the students are given a sheet with all sorts of seemingly random objects. It is up to the children to classify these objects, based on characteristics of their own choosing. There are many possibilities: Alive and Not Alive. Animal and Not Animal. Wheels and No Wheels. The possibilities seem endless . . .We have a discussion about why scientists classify.
Scientists classify by all sorts of characteristics so they can find things more easily and help organize fields of study. We talk about how we use classification at home, as well: socks in the sock drawer, Legos in the Lego bin. You certainly wouldn’t want to keep your underwear with your shoes!
Directly after our science lesson on classification, the children enjoyed a snack. A potpourri of items were offered: veggie sticks, grapes, chips and crackers. Without any prompting, the children began sorting their snack into groups, saying “We are doing classification!”
Choose groups to clone to: