How To Have a Great Friday: Get Kids in the Lab

Fridays can sometimes feel tough for teachers and students, but on many occasions, I’ve found this to be a great opportunity to get the most work out of your kids.

To be clear, I don’t teach any new concepts during the last day of the week, but I use this time to consolidate vocabulary and ideas we’d learned through the beginning of the week.

As a science teacher, is that I tend to put lab days on Thursdays or Fridays. I will often set up the lab so that students must walk and move from station to station. A bit of movement helps keep them focused and shake off any excess nervous energy too! It also encourages social interaction with a variety of peers, as well as provide opportunities for students to help one another. Plus, at a glance, you can see who is on task and who is not!

Today, we worked on one of my favourite technology labs in the Grade 11 Science and Technology course. This lab actually comes straight out of the Observatory textbook and focuses on identifying links in mechanical objects. Students are given the period to practice choosing four pairs of terms:

  • flexible – rigid
  • direct – indirect
  • complete – partial
  • removable -non-removable

    image

Most of the terms are fairly straightforward and it doesn’t take long for them to catch on. I will let them work individually or in pairs and pop around the classroom, collecting anecdotal data to check for comprehension. When doing so, I often encourage them to answer verbally, just to get that oral-aural connection going. This is extremely important for English Language Learners, as my students speak Cree as their first language. The technology unit comprises of a lot of new terms, so it’s important they apply each set of words and become familiar with them.

If a student does answer incorrectly when I’m speaking with them, I’ll ask the student to check their foldable* (pictured above). The definition for each term is written inside and I’ll ask the question again until they give the correct answer.

Usually after the set-up, a quick check around the classroom and I see that they’re focused, at least I can take the rest of the period and just have a little tea break at my desk!

Easy end of the day activity! Win win!

*We created these on Wednesday, just two days beforehand.

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