What is Science?

Katelyn Lapensee

How I think of Science. . . (c)

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My Understanding of Science Comes From. . .

My understanding of science and technology has been influenced by my classes in both elementary school and high school. In general, I enjoyed science growing up, however I did enjoy it more in some years compared to others. For example, I remember that I really enjoyed the units on nature that involved ecosystems and habitats as I have a love for animals, therefore I was really engaged when creating dioramas for class projects that included various types of animals. Projects that were hands-on and fun were very engaging and created a positive perspective of science. In elementary school, I learned all the different areas that science encompasses, such as space, biology, chemistry, and physics. In high school I got the chance to choose science electives to gain in-depth knowledge on the subjects and biology, chemistry and astronomy were the two subjects that interested me the most. As you can see from the mind map, these subjects contributed to my knowledge on what science is as the concepts I chose stemmed from these subjects.

My Future Teaching. . .

In my teaching, I will emphasize the fact that science can be fun and de-emphasize the idea that science is boring, nerdy and complicated. I would engage the students by introducing science through hands-on learning activities where students can participate in their own learning. I know some students, myself included, would get discouraged in class when difficult concepts were thrown at me (especially when they were from a textbook) and I was expected to learn them for the test. As a student, I concentrated on learning material for the test and not for the sake of learning it. Therefore as a teacher, I would de-emphasize the importance of tests and emphasize the importance of actually learning the material. Students can show their understanding in other ways such as in-class projects and class discussions (however tests cannot be removed completely as they are necessary for assessment).


(Harriman, 2014).

Doing a Hands-On Science Class Means There Needs to Be Rules! (i)

Safety Rules

1. Do not put anything in your mouth

This is an extremely important rule as many children put unknown objects (and known objects) in their mouths. If there are any experiments with food students may think it is okay to eat them or taste them, not realizing that they may be contaminated with a harmful substance. This is also important as some students may have unknown allergies to certain items being used, therefore students should never ever test anything in their mouths.

2. Listen to instructions and follow directions carefully

It is important that students understand what they are doing and any consequences that could result from deviating from the instructed procedure. The instructions/directions should be given both verbally and visually to students (for both types of learners) and it is important to have these instructions listed up on the wall or given to each individual student (or both). This will help ensure that students remember what they are doing as they can look at the directions if they need any reminders in the case that they forget.

3. If you have any questions or problems, ask the teacher

This is an important rule as students need to understand that if they have questions, they need to ask them! No question is considered to be a ‘stupid’ question and if they don’t ask the teacher then they, or one of their classmates, may get hurt. Students should not be nervous or scared to tell the teacher that they have a problem or a question (i.e. they shouldn’t think they will get in trouble if they forget instructions) as the teacher will be happy to answer any questions they may have. If a problem occurs, such as they break something, then it is important that they report this to the teacher immediately as it could be unsafe.

Nature Walks! An example of a fun science activity. . . (h)

How can this support the teaching of science. . .

One of the goals of the Science and Technology curriculum is to “relate science and technology to society and the environment” (p. 3) and a part of science is “seek[ing] to explain the natural and physical world (p. 4). Taking your class out for a walk in the natural environment is a good learning tool to help engage students in the “realness” of science. They will see that science isn’t something that is boring or just concepts from a textbook, but it is actually a part of our everyday life. Science is all around us! A nature walk is perfect for teaching students expectations from Understanding Life Systems which is a strand in every grade. Students can explore nature and learn about animals, plants, habitats, and the natural environment. It is a great play-based learning opportunity, especially for kindergarten, where students are actively responsible for their own learning.

Grade 1 Understanding Life Systems: Needs and Characteristics of Living Things

Overall Expectations

  1. Assess the role of humans in maintaining a healthy environment
  2. Investigate needs and characteristics of plants and animals, including humans
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic needs and characteristics of plants and animals, including humans

Grade 2 Understanding Life Systems: Growth and Changes in Animals

Overall Expectations

  1. Assess ways in which animals have an impact on society and the environment, and ways in which humans have an impact upon animals and the places where they live
  2. Investigate similarities and differences in the characteristics of various animals
  3. Demonstrate an understanding that animals grow and change and have distinct characteristics

Grade 3 Understanding Life Systems: Growth and Changes in Plants

Overall Expectations

  1. Assess ways in which plants have an impact on society and the environment, and ways in which human activity has an impact on plants and plant habitats
  2. Investigate similarities and differences in the characteristics of various plants, and ways in which the characteristics of plants relate to the environment in which they grow
  3. Demonstrate an understanding that plants grow and change and have distinct characteristics

How to get students engaged . . .

A good way to get students engaged in the 'science aspects of the walk' is to discuss before hand what is science related outside. A good idea is to, as a class, create a mind map of what is science outdoors. This will help them realize what they are doing is actually science and when they are outdoors they will take notice to the science aspects of the walk they talked about prior. It also would be beneficial to have an activity done during the walk. This could be done by simply having a list of things for students to find on the walk, or having a boxes for them to draw science-related things that they find. After the walk, it would be good to follow up with what they learned outdoors and how does it relate to the content they are currently learning in science.


Harriman, P. (2014). Thousands attend hands-on science festival at Sanford centre [online image]. Retrieved from http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/local/2014/06/14/thousands-attend-hands-science-festival-sanford-center/10528061/

McGregor. (2013). McGregos Grade 2 Habitat Dioramas [online images]. Retrieved from http://www-ihigh.blueframetech.com/gallery_106434.html?photo=