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The Middle School Years Roadmap for Science – Part 1: Goals {Season 4, Episode 67}

April 15, 2019 4 min read

 

Ep 67 The Middle School Years Roadmap for Science – Part 1: Goals

Welcome to the third stop on our roadmap to teaching science – the middle school years! Today we will be chatting about your goals for science during these years.

Welcome to the Tips for Homeschool Science Show where we are breaking down the lofty ideals of teaching science into building blocks you can use in your homeschool. 

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The Middle School Years - Part 1: Goals Transcripts

middle school years

Here we are at the third stop on our roadmap to teaching science – the middle school years!

These years are often seen as a holding tank – that time between the wonder of learning during the elementary years and the work that counts for high school. But these are not years to just survive the transition from childhood to a teenager, they are years to enjoy building upon the foundations and learning how to make connections.

I like to compare the middle school student to a bucket full of unorganized information that needs to be filed away and stored in a cabinet. During the middle school years, the students are beginning to apply the basic facts they have mastered to the new concepts they are learning. They have a strong desire to know why and are likely to question everything you are trying to teach them.

A middle school student is assailing you with questions that begin with, “But, why?”

You want to capitalize on this need to know why along with continuing to feed them with information. You also want to emphasize inquiry-based methods as you teach the students how to organize and store information.

The middle school years begin when the student moves out of the elementary years and end when the student begins to take what they know, analyze the why behind it, and then apply their conclusions to an unknown situation. For some students, this means they leave this stage by the end of eighth grade, for some they leave by the end of ninth grade, and for some students, this phase ends earlier or later than that.

Either way, the middle school years are pivotal for preparing the student to receive the information they will learn in high school and beyond. In short, the middle school student needs to explore the principles of science as well as learn the tools they will utilize when organizing the information they are receiving.

Science at this stage is beginning to require more planning and preparation on your part and you do need to devote a good chunk of time to science, at least two hours or so each week to work through the three keys of science.

It sounds a bit more complicated, but I want to encourage you that it is possible to teach science at home during the middle school years. We’ll chat more about tools and methods in the next two episodes, but for now, I want to share the three goals you will have when it comes to teaching science during the middle school years:

  1. First, you want to begin to train the student’s brain to think analytically about the facts of science. You don’t want them to just parrot back facts or the most interesting thing they learned. You want them to actually have to think about what they have read. So, you will add why- and how-type questions to your discussion times.
  2. Second, you want to familiarize the student with the basics of the scientific method through inquiry-based activities. During the elementary years, you demonstrated science for your students. During the middle school years, you will transition to your students doing science. They will have the chance to work through the scientific method as they do experiments, to ask their own questions about science, and to develop or do tests to answer those questions. And yes, this means that a science fair project will be on your list of things to do during these years.
  3. And third, you want to continue to feed the student with information about the world around them. You build a good base during the elementary years, but it is impossible to teach the whole of what a student needs to know during that time. Plus, as your students mature, they are able to understand more about the different concepts in science. So, during the middle school years, you need to continue to feed them with new facts about science.

    In a nutshell

    Your middle school kiddos have a strong desire to know why. When teaching science, you will be playing to these strengths while helping them learn how to make connections between the pieces of knowledge they deposited during the elementary years and the new information that they are currently learning.

    Next week, we are going to chat about some of the tools you can use to accomplish these three goals.

    Until then…thanks for listening – I hope that you leave our time together encouraged in your homeschooling journey.

    Let me know what you think by leaving a rating or review in iTunes or in the podcasting app you use to listen to the Tips for Homeschool Science Show. I would appreciate you taking the time to do so as it inspires those of us who work so hard to put this podcast together for you to enjoy and helps others to find this podcast.

    I would love to also connect with you beyond the earbuds! You can find me on Instagram or drop me an email through the link below.

    I can’t wait to share another piece of the roadmap in our next episode, but until then – I hope you have a great week playing with science!

    See how we can help you teach science to your middle school student!


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