VCS Students Learn Science By Doing

Students performing science experiments in a classroom

In Volusia elementary schools, students apply what they've learned in science class by performing hands-on, minds-on activities experiments. These hands-on experiences help students better understand difficult concepts.

VCS' Curriculum Department has a contest for elementary science teachers. Every month, teachers post photos of their science lessons and of students performing science experiments to Twitter with the hashtag #VCSScientists. The department chooses the winner, who receive a Science Prize Pack with a certificate and "science goodies," said Jennifer Taylor, the district's coordinator for science curriculum and instruction.

"[The contest] celebrates and shares the great science occurring in our elementary schools across the district in order to inspire future scientists," Taylor said. The photos of the experiments also help teachers find new ideas for their own classrooms.

Sherri Pierce, a teacher at Edgewater Public Elementary, won the contest in January with a project where students observed the way objects move, pushes and pulls, the force needed to move objects in different ways, and the speed of moving objects.

"One of our favorite Bobcat Powers at Edgewater Public is our power of Curiosity,” Pierce said. “One of our favorite things to do is to 'Wonder.' What are we wondering today? The time we get to be Scientist is important to how we discover and learn."

In December, Louise S. McInnis teacher Elizabeth Lundy won the contest. Her experiment had students put different substances, like salt, sugar, pepper, beans, oil, and sand, in water to see which would dissolve.

Students perform science experiments in a classroom.

"Science instruction matters to me because it helps students discover how our world works,” Lundy said. "Students gain understanding of why it rains, why there are different clouds in the sky, what needs to happen to give your TV power. Through instruction and hands-on activities, I can have my students expand their knowledge."

The contest will run monthly through the end of the school year, and the district plans to continue the contest next year. To enter, elementary teachers should post photos of their science lessons and students performing science experiments to Twitter with the hashtag #VCSScientists.

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