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Set up: Start by choosing a class pet. Although many think of rabbits, hamsters, or other rodents, class pets can be very simple. Different kinds of insects, including crickets, ants, and caterpillars, fish, frogs, and turtles make easy to manage pets. Create a notebook called the Class Observation Journal. Choose a notebook that has space for drawing and writing. Stock the work station with a variety of writing and drawing supplies, including pencils, colored pencils, and crayons. Add a set of magnifying glasses for up close observations.

Procedure: In this work station, students are respon- sible for writing and drawing a detailed observation of the animal. Students can write about what the animal did, what the animal ate, or what is differ- ent about the animal today versus other observation days. Provide students with the opportunity to share what they observed at the end of class or read aloud the observation journal at the end of each week.

The Plant Work Station

Plants provide an easy way to bring nature into the class- room. They give a green ambiance to the room while also serving as an excellent nature study project. When setting up this work station, consider planting your own seeds at the beginning of the school year as a class project. Through growing their own plants, students have ownership over the work station and become enthusiastic about the plants’ progress during the year.

Set-up: This work station requires an assortment of plants, a Plant Data Journal, and a set of pencils. Students will also need some measuring tools including a ruler and measuring cup.

Procedure: At this work station, students focus on observing and taking care of the plants. They can write and draw their daily observations. Using a ruler, students can measure the plant’s growth and record it in the Plant Data Journal. Stu- dents should also take care of the plants, giving them water each day and recording the amount of water in the Data Journal. To extend this work station, encourage students to design experiments using the plants. For example, students could test what happens when one plant gets more water than another plant or compare how quickly different plants grow.

The Weather Work Station

Monitoring the weather daily allows students to explore how science changes right outside the classroom door.Weather stations integrate measurement, observation, meteorological tools, and technology to teach students how real scientists do their jobs.

Set-up: To assemble an outdoor weather station, identify the weather tracking tools your science department has on hand. Students need a thermometer, rain gauge, and weather vane to make daily measurements. In addition, you need to set up a Weather Journal to record observations, provide a set of pencils, and find access to a classroom computer.

Procedure: At this work station, students are responsible for recording their daily weather observations in theWeather Journal. Students record the type of weather, temperature, rain fall amount, and wind direction each day. For accurate temperature readings, find a shady spot for the thermometer near a classroom window or outside door. To measure rainfall amounts, place the rain gauge in an open location outside the classroom. If access to the outside is too difficult for your students, they can use a weather website to gather weather data. BothWeather Bug and theWeather Channel provide comprehensive coverage of local weather informa- tion. Students can also watch the local radar movements and read predictions of upcoming weather patterns.

Animal Fact File Work Station

Young scientists are curious about learning and exploring the world of information around them.With a new found confidence in reading, students love to find out facts about an interesting topic on their own. Young readers are espe- cially motivated to learn about animals.With a wealth of grade level books, encyclopedia articles, websites, and other interactive tools, students can independently research and collect information about their favorite living things.

Set-up: For this work station, you will need to locate a variety of animal focused research materials. These materials could include library books, leveled readers, encyclopedias, and bookmarked websites. In addition, students will need 4" x 6" lined index cards, index card box, index card box dividers, sticky notes and pencils.

Procedure: To get started, students choose an animal they would like to research. Encourage children to choose animals that they do not know much about, or provide a list of animals for students to select from. In order to help students research their animal, create a list of guiding questions. Questions can include finding out where the animal lives, what it eats,


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