Each year, we ask the teachers hosting Letters to a Pre-Scientist to each write a blog post, to give the rest of the LPS community some insight into the science education experience in the pre-scientists’ classrooms. Julie Wojnar is participating for the second year, and explains how the mission of LPS integrates into the goals she sets for her students.
Hello! My name is Julie Wojnar I teach 5th grade science and social in Euclid, Ohio. This is my second year participating in LPS. When I first heard about LPS and its mission last year, I knew it was the perfect program for my students to be involved in. In science class, a focus of mine has been to connect my student’s classroom learning to their outside world so that they see the importance and value in what they are learning in school. Letters to a Pre-scientist will allow my students to communicate with professionals in science careers and learn about their professions and the paths they took to get where they are today.
Another way that I connect my student’s learning to their outside world is through field trips and experiences that can be brought into the classroom. Our first science unit this year was ecosystems and students had many hands on learning experiences both in and outside the classroom. In the classroom, as students were learning how to classify organisms in an ecosystem and how they are interdependent, they set up their own pond ecosystems , with fish, snails, eldea, and several other pond organisms. As students were learning to classify organisms by how they obtain energy, they were able to trace the energy flow in their pond ecosystems.
During this science unit, we took our learning outside the classroom with a trip to Lake Erie. On this trip, students were able bring their learning to life, as they went on a scavenger hunt to find abiotic and biotic factors at the park. While on this learning adventure, students also created food webs of organisms that live in Lake Erie. Finally, students were able to test Lake Erie water and several other water samples as they predicted while water samples would be safe to drink based upon pH levels.
To share what we learned about ecosystems both inside the classroom and out of the classroom, students researched the different pond organisms in their classroom ecosystems and prepared presentations to share, as families were invited to come in and see what their children had been learning. Students really enjoyed this science unit, as they engaged in the various learning opportunities this fall.
Help Letters to a Pre-Scientist reach even more students! Donate to our fundraising campaign by November 30, and spread the word!